Egypt denies 'tacit' acceptance of US Jerusalem move

The Times reported that the spy told them "strife with Israel was not in Egypt's national interest", that they must convince their audiences, and that the Palestinians should be content with Ramallah as a capital of a future Palestinian state.

Egypt's government, two television presenters and an actor have all denied claims that an Egyptian intelligence officer urged them to promote Donald Trump's declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, after audio tapes were shared of the conversations. 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.

While Egypt would denounce the decision in public, Al-Khouly reportedly said that it is not in the interest of the state for relations with Israel to remain conflictual.

Capt. Kholi asked repeatedly in four audio recordings of his telephone calls obtained by The New York Times.

The report said that Kholi told the talk show hosts that the Palestinian threat to spark a third intifada against Israel in response to Trump's statement would be bad for Egypt since it would "revive the Islamists and Hamas".


In a statement, the Egyptian government said it was "inappropriate for the New York Times, a reputable newspaper, to publish such allegations".

The statement pointed out that Egypt sponsored a United Nations resolution opposing the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, despite threats by Washington to reduce aid. "We have enough on our plate".

"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, OK?"

Captain Kholi, on tape, echoed exactly this sentiment, telling the talk show hosts, "The point that is risky for us is the intifada issue..." Later on, he said in press statements that he intends to file a complaint.

'How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah?'


Shortly after Trump's Jerusalem decision, Egypt submitted a resolution to the UN Security Council demanding its reversal.

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.

"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.

In a statement released by the Egyptian government, they affirmed that those mentioned in the report do not host talk shows Haaretz reported. "I have no problem saying all of the things you have heard in that call in public".

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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