Egypt Slams NYT Report About Jerusalem Position

10 January, 2018, 02:06 | Author: Kim Reid
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As President Donald Trump moved last month to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, an Egyptian intelligence officer quietly placed phone calls to the hosts of several influential talk shows in Egypt.

"At President Trump's direction, the vice president is traveling to the Middle East to reaffirm our commitment to work with the US' allies in the region to defeat radicalism that threatens future generations", said Alyssa Farah, a spokeswoman for Pence.

Before Trump's announcement, Abbas was scheduled to meet with Pence in the biblical town of Bethlehem.

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Palestinian officials have pressured local church leaders to reject Pence's visit and follow the example of the Egyptian Coptic Church whose pope has refused to meet the USA vice president due to the decision. The White House said Pence will address the need to combat terrorism and help persecuted religious minorities. But Pence's trip to the Middle East, his first as vice-president, will be carefully watched following Trump's decision on Israel's capital, which prompted Palestinian leaders to cancel planned meetings with the vice-president.

He will also hold a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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. The Times article said that according to tapes of conversations between Kholi and four different hosts, the officer suggested that Palestinians should be content with Ramallah rather than east Jerusalem. Instead, he said, preoccupied by concerns about their own stability, the Arab leaders signalled that - while they may not like the decision - they "will find a way to work with it", and "with a White House that is prepared to break with what had been taboos in American foreign policy".

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Many U.S. allies disagreed with Trump's decision, as no other country has its embassy in Jerusalem under a long-standing global consensus that the city's status should be decided in a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

"I am friends with Ashraf and we talk all the time", the Times reported Megahed as saying in the interview.

However, in the recordings released by Mekameleen, el-Kholi can be heard telling one of the hosts that he was calling to lay out "the stance of Egypt's national security apparatus and what it stands to benefit from in this matter of announcing Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel". Jordan has a large population of Palestinian origin, and the king serves as guardian of the third holiest site of Islam, located in east Jerusalem.

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