The Egyptian government has publicly denounced Trump’s unilateral move to declare Jerusalem a capital of Israel. But, a report by the New York Times suggests that what is said in public by Egyptian officials is contradicted behind the scenes.
The New York Times said that it has obtained audio recordings of Egyptian intelligence officer, Capt. Ashraf Al Kholi, urging TV hosts to promote a “quiet acceptance” of Trump’s Jerusalem decision.
Four taped phone calls revealed Al-Kholi telling popular talk-show hosts and one singer to promote a positive view of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, according to the New York Times.
“At the end of the day, later on, Jerusalem won’t be much different from Ramallah,” says Capt. Kholi in one of the recorded conversations.
“Palestinians can’t resist and we don’t want to go to war. We have enough on our plate, as you know,” the intelligence official said in another tape.
In one of the recordings, Capt. Kholi asks Mr Megahed to say that Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, has secret ties with Israel. The host replies: “My pleasure. My pleasure. I will include it in the next episode, God willing.”
Television talk shows play a formative role in shaping public debate in Egypt, and Egyptian intelligence services often brief the anchors about messages to convey to the public. The hosts typically prefer to characterize the conversations as journalists talking to sources.
Other Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia, have taken a similar stance. King Salman publicly criticized Trump’s move, but he also reportedly told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accept that no part of Jerusalem would ever be the capital of a Palestinian state.