WASHINGTON - Recognizing the role Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi played in brokering the Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire last month, 18 senators from both sides of the aisle have sent a letter to President Morsi, urging him to step up efforts to stop arms smuggling through the Sinai and into Gaza that could reignite the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and a bipartisan group of lawmakers urged Morsi to allow the peace process to advance by cracking down on the smuggling of weapons through Egypt and into the hands of terrorists in Gaza.
"Given Israel's naval blockade of Gaza, there's only one way to get weapons into Gaza, and that is through Egypt," the senators wrote. "In order for the ceasefire to hold, it is imperative that your government bolster its efforts to halt all weapons smuggling taking place via both overland and underground routes."
Morsi was instrumental in brokering the cease-fire that ended the eight-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza last month.
Recently, there have been statements from Hamas and Iranian leaders acknowledging that Gaza is being supplied with weapons from Iran, including long-range Fajr-5 missiles.
"In the interest of peace and security, Egypt should take immediate and decisive action to halt such smuggling," the senators continued in the letter. "This is all the more important in light of the potential easing of restrictions on the movement of people and goods through Gaza border crossings as a condition of the ceasefire you helped to broker. Preventing Hamas from re-arming is just one step in helping to prevent violence from erupting again."
Also signing the letter are Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R - AK), Jeff Begich (D - AK), Jerry Moran (R - KS), Ben Cardin (D – MD), John Boozman (R - AR), Mark Udall (D - CO), Saxby Chambliss (R - GA), John Tester (D - MT) Scott Brown (R - MA), Dan Coats (R - IN), Marco Rubio (R - FL), James Risch (R - ID), Mike Johanns (R - NE), Roger Wicker (R - MS), Pat Roberts (R - KS) and Chuck Grassley (R - IA).