Egypt Denies Report Backing President Trump on Yerushalayim

09 January, 2018, 01:05 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Egypt fumes over NYT report of official playing down Trump J'lem decision

In a detailed release on Sunday, the Egyptian State Information Service (SIS) repudiated every element of Saturday's New York Times report, which claimed that an Egyptian intelligence official had encouraged several talk show hosts to push the idea that Ramallah was an acceptable substitute for Jerusalem as the eventual capital of 'Palestine'.

The report claimed the existence of an audio recording of telephone calls where an Egyptian intelligence officer by the name of Ashraf Al-Khouly instructed hosts of several talk shows to, "instead of condemning the decision, they should persuade their viewers to accept it". He told the hosts that instead of condemning the decision, they should persuade their viewers to accept it. Palestinians, he suggested, should content themselves with the dreary West Bank town that now houses the Palestinian Authority, Ramallah.

"At the end of the day, later on, Jerusalem won't be so much different from Ramallah".

The debate caught fire when The New York Times published a report on Saturday titled "Tapes Reveal Egyptian Leaders' Tacit Acceptance of Jerusalem Move" by David D. Kirkpatrick, the Times' London-based worldwide correspondent.

"Exactly that", agreed one host, Azmi Megahed, who confirmed the authenticity of the recording according to the US-based publication.

The statement also asserted that Egypt's positions on global issues are conveyed by the president, the minister of foreign affairs and in official statements, not from "alleged leaks from an anonymous source".

The statement added that Egypt has expressed "in word and dead" its position on the Jerusalem issue at the United Nations despite threats by the USA to cut off aid to countries that condemn its Jerusalem decision at the UN General Assembly. "We have enough on our plate as you know".

"An Intifada [uprising] would not serve Egypt's national security interests because an Intifada would revive the Islamists and Hamas", el-Kholi said.

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The CBI special judge had on December 23 acquitted former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra and five others in the case. The presiding judge said, "An open jail is best for these people (convicts), as they also have experience of cow farming'".

The statement further claimed that the government did not know who Kholi was.

"The point that is risky for us is the intifada issue", Captain Kholi explained.

Qais Abdulkarim, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation's executive committee, told Al Jazeera he believed Egypt continues to support the Palestinian cause. "Hamas would be reborn once more", he reportedly said.

In response, the SIS stated that the NYT report mentioned four of the "hosts of influential talk shows".

In his call with Megahed, el-Kholi suggested that the Palestinians should be happy with the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, home to the Palestinian Authority.

Egypt was among one of the first countries to criticise the decision by US President Donald Trump, which prompted widespread worldwide condemnation and deadly protests in the occupied Palestinian territories.

"I am friends with Ashraf and we talk all the time", Megahed said.

Egypt has long accused Hamas of supporting groups fighting its security forces in the Sinai peninsula, a region that borders Gaza and Israel. "I have no problem saying all of the things you have heard in that call in public".


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