February 10, 2010: Egyptians reported that two Israeli warships passed through the Suez canal recently. The two ships are believed headed for the Persian Gulf, where Israeli ships have been mapping the local waters, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy.
For years, Egypt would not allow Israeli submarines to pass through the Suez canal. But last June, an Israeli submarine went through the Suez canal and conducted naval exercises in the Red Sea. Israel said that the sub would not be stationed in the Red Sea, but would return to its Mediterranean base. There were reports that an Israeli missile boat passed through the canal last Summer as well.
Although Egypt and Israel have been at peace for three decades, there has still been lots of hostility from Egypt because of the failure to establish a Palestinian state. But in the last decade, Egypt has become less friendly towards the Palestinians, who have been at war with Israel (in the form of a terrorism campaign) since 2000. Many Egyptians have come to blame the Palestinians for the failure to make peace with Israel. But what has really brought the Egyptians and Israelis together is their common enemies; Islamic terrorists and Iran. Egypt fought a savage campaign against local Islamic terrorists in the 1990s. Several of the terrorist leaders escaped Egypt and joined al Qaeda (which still considers the Egyptian government an arch foe). Iran has increasingly proclaimed itself the true leader of Islam, something Egypt opposes. The Arab nations have largely united in opposition to Iran, and Israel is an unofficial ally in this struggle. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and can send warships through the Suez canal. For its size, Israel has a large and effective fleet of missile boats and submarines. But most of the naval threats are in the Red Sea, not the Mediterranean.