Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Egyptian TV hosts deny being ordered to publicly back Trump Jerusalem move

ERIC PIERMONT Egypt denies 'tacit' acceptance of US Jerusalem move
Jay Anderson | 09 January, 2018, 01:06

The Egyptian government vociferously denied on Sunday a New York Times report that suggested that Egypt's outward policy towards US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, was contradictory to internal discussions held behind closed doors in Cairo.

The article by Kirkpatrick, the Times' worldwide correspondent in London, claimed the newspaper obtained audio recordings of telephone calls between an alleged Egyptian intelligence officer and the hosts of several talk shows in Egypt instructing them to persuade their viewers to accept US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy to the city last December. 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.

"How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah, really?" el-Kholi said.

The recordings in Arabic, aired by the Mekameleen TV network late on Sunday, were first reported on by the New York Times and appeared to contradict Egypt's public condemnation of the U.S. move. One of the hosts, Azmi Megahed, reportedly confirmed that the recordings were authentic.

Egypt's State Information Service has denied the Times' January 6 report in a statement, saying its stance on Jerusalem remains unchanged.

SIS said Egypt's position on Jerusalem "was translated in stances and measures taken at the United Nations and other global organizations despite USA threats of aid cut". "We have enough on our plate".

Kholi alluded to Egypt's acceptance of Ramallah as a Palestinian capital, in fear of another intifada.

Captain Kholi, on tape, echoed exactly this sentiment, telling the talk show hosts, "The point that is risky for us is the intifada issue..."




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

'How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah?'

Egypt has long accused Hamas of supporting groups fighting its security forces in the Sinai peninsula, a region that borders Gaza and Israel.

"The Times' report claims that Captain Ashraf al-Kholi is an officer with the Egyptian General Intelligence without presenting its readers with the slightest evidence as to the truth of this piece of information or that a person by this name exists in the first place", the statement said.

An Egyptian intelligence officer has instructed several Egyptian TV talk show hosts to downplay Trump's Jerusalem decision.

"There is a political decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and we will strive to reach an worldwide political decision to recognize a Palestinian state ... with (eastern) Jerusalem as its capital", Safadi said.

Egypt submitted a UN Security Council resolution demanding a reversal of Trump's move on Jerusalem, but the resolution was vetoed by Washington. "Another intifada would be bad".

One of the phone calls was also to well-known Egyptian actor and singer, Yousra, who heeded his advice.

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