Egyptian media reportedly instructed to downplay Trump’s Jerusalem recognition; Egyptian officer: Egypt has enough on its plate. An intifada would not serve Egypt’s national security interests because an intifada would revive the Islamists and Hamas.
A senior Egyptian intelligence officer recently called on Egyptians to recognize Ramallah as a future Palestinian capital, stating “[If] Ramallah will be the capital of Palestine, to end the war and so no one else dies, then we [Egypt] would go for it.”
A recording of the Egyptian officer, Ashraf al-Kholi, was released to the media over the weekend, Kholi giving an interview on regional developments, speaking at length on Jerusalem. When asked about President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem, Kholi centered on Egypt’s security interests in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stating, “recognition of Jerusalem is in Egypt’s national interests”.
Kholi can be heard stating in the recording “We, like all our Arab brothers, are denouncing this matter. After that, this thing will become a reality. Palestinians can’t resist and we don’t want to go to war. We have enough on our plate as you know… The point that is dangerous for us is the intifada issue. An intifada would not serve Egypt’s national security interests because an intifada would revive the Islamists and Hamas. Hamas would be reborn once more.”
On Ramallah as a future Palestinian capital, the officer stated, “At the end of the day, later on, Jerusalem won’t be much different from Ramallah. What matters is ending the suffering of the Palestinian people.”
He reiterated his claims, stating “I was just calling to tell you what our public stance is, so if you go on TV or speak in an interview, I am telling you what is 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, O.K.?”
Reports claim that Egyptian media has been instructed to promote recognition of Jerusalem while Egypt continues to take an official stance in opposition to President Trump’s recognition. Egypt is currently taking part in a Arab League effort to lobby diplomatic support to recognize “Palestine” and the United Nations, with east Jerusalem as its capital. Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the PA, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates are all part of the Arab League committee.
In early December of 2017, media reports claimed that a US peace plan backed by Saudi Arabia offered an initiative to the Palestinian Authority that would allocate the Palestinian village of Abu Dis as a future capital of a Palestinian state, as well as remove preconditions for negotiations. The peace initiative would include a non-contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and proposes the West Bank city of Abu Dis, which is adjacent to Jerusalem, as a capital city.
Details of the plan were given by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salma to President Abbas in Riyadh last month. The Saudis reportedly offered to significantly increase their aid for the Palestinians as part of the plan, with reports claiming the Saudis told Abbas he has two months to consider the initiative, and failure to do so would result in pressure for his resignation.
Saudi Arabia denied the reports, the Kingdom’s Ambassador to the United States stating in response, “The Kingdom remains committed to a settlement based on the Arab peace initiative of 2002, including East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. To suggest otherwise is false.”
Photo: Jerusalem, Wikimedia Commons, 2017.