Israel Lobbies U.S. To Maintain Aid to Egypt
The Israeli government is kicking into high gear its efforts to convince the United States and the European Union to support the new military-backed government in Egypt.
The New York Times late on Sunday reported that Israeli ambassadors in Washington and in the European capitals will lobby foreign ministers and that Israeli leaders will press diplomats to see the Israeli opinion that the Egyptian military will prevent a further deterioration of the situation in Cairo. The newspaper cited an unnamed “senior Israeli official involved in the effort.”
“If you insist on big principles, then you will miss the essential — the essential being putting Egypt back on track at whatever cost. First, save what you can, and then deal with democracy and freedom and so on,” the official told the Times. “At this point it’s army or anarchy.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered all government officials to refrain from publicly discussing the situation in Egypt.
Israel reportedly has been lobbying hard American officials to sustain the United State’s annual $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt. President Obama, who last week cancelled a planned joint military exercise with Egypt over the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi and the ensuing bloodshed during efforts to shut down pro-Morsi demonstrations, has threatened to withhold that aid over the violence.
Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who led the military coup that ousted Morsi from the presidency, developed close ties with Israel when he headed Egypt’s military intelligence, according to the Times, and has remained in close contact with Israel throughout the recent violence and bloodshed.
More than 800 Morsi supporters have been killed since last week.