Israel: US Aid Cuts to Egypt Endanger Peace Treaty
A report Thursday said that Israeli officials were concerned over the decision by the U.S. to cut military aid to Egypt. According to the report, Israeli officials fear that the cuts could jeopardize Egypt's commitments to the Camp David Accords.
The report in the New York Times quoted an Israeli government source as saying that the ramifications of holding back aid could backfire; instead of convincing the Egyptian government to act in a more democratic manner and halt the persecution of Islamists, the move could radicalize Egypt even more.
“You cannot disassemble the peace treaty and take out this part or that part,” the Times quoted the Israeli official as saying. “But there are other elements in this conundrum. This is not just about Israel. This is about America’s standing in the Arab world.
“If America is seen to be turning its back on Egypt, an old ally, how will it be seen? People will see it as the United States dropping a friend,” said the official, adding that if nations felt they could no longer trust the U.S. to back up its political commitments, they could turn to other nations for assistance or protection, greatly increasing the level of tension in the world.
In an interview, Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said that he was opposed to the cuts. “Egypt should be strengthened,” he said. “We need a stable Egypt. It's important for the world, the Middle East, for us, and for the Egyptians themselves.”
On Wednesday, the State Department confirmed that it would ll cut hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Egypt to register displeasure over the military's pace of restoring democracy following the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi.
The U.S. provides $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt, but the State Department did not provide a dollar amount of the aid being cut. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was quoted as having said the United States will withhold delivery of certain large-scale military systems, as well as cash assistance to the Egyptian government, until "credible progress" is made toward an inclusive government set up through free and fair elections.