Egyptian Leaders Accept Trump's Jerusalem Move

09 January, 2018, 01:05 | Author: Marjorie Miles

In secret conversations unearthed by The New York Times, government intelligence officials pushed talk show hosts to peddle a government narrative accepting Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the "undivided" capital of Israel, despite a public facade of outrage over the move.

Egypt on Sunday dismissed a report that an Egyptian intelligence officer had urged influential talk show hosts to support the USA decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah, really?"

The recordings in Arabic, aired by Mekameleen TV late on Sunday, were first reported on by the New York Times and appeared to contradict Egypt's public condemnation of the USA move.

The State Information Service in Cairo refuted the Times' January 6 report in a statement, saying its positions "are conveyed by the president, the foreign minister and in official statements". "All of the entities in charge have expressed in word and deed the inalienable position on Jerusalem in the UN and other global organizations with disregard for the threats of the USA to cut aid to countries including Egypt over the UN Jerusalem vote".

Additionally, the SIS said Azmi Megahed, the TV host who reportedly confirmed the authenticity of the recordings, "denies knowing a man by the name of Ashraf al-Kholi". "We have enough on our plate as you know".

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".

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Captain Kholi, on tape, echoed exactly this sentiment, telling the talk show hosts, "The point that is unsafe for us is the intifada issue... Hamas would be reborn once more", Kholi said, according to the paper. "An intifada would not serve Egypt's national security interests because an intifada would revive the Islamists and Hamas".

The statements attributed to Kholi "can fit in with the desire to control the flames", he said.

Following U.S. President Donald Trump's Jerusalem announcement, Egypt submitted a UN Security Council resolution demanding a reversal of the decision, whilst Egyptian state media reported that President al-Sisi had personally protested to Trump. "Concessions are a must and if we reach a concession whereby Jerusalem will be - Ramallah will be the capital of Palestine, to end the war and so no one else dies, then we would go for it".

The statement noted that two of the talk show hosts mentioned in the report no longer have shows and never presented any news regarding the Jerusalem decision.

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. "Another intifada would be bad".

The Times said Kholi held conversations with others it described as well-known hosts, Mofid Fawzy and Saeed Hassaseen, as well as with singer-actress Cevine Nessim, known by her stage name Yousra.


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