Anwar El Sadat, Jimmy Carter and Menachem Begin handshake ,at White House1979
JERUSALEM — Officials and experts in Israel responded on Wednesday with a mixture of disappointment and alarm to the news that the United States planned to reduce its military aid to Egypt in response to this summer’s brutal crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and the continuing violence it has spawned.Israel views the aid as part and parcel of its 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, and essential to the maintenance of stability in the region.Israel has been involved in the Obama administration’s discussions on the cuts. Israeli officials refused to comment publicly on the matter on Wednesday, in part because there had been no official announcement yet from Washington.But one Israeli official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the delicate diplomacy involved, warned that the implications of punitive cuts in Egypt’s aid could go far beyond the issue of Israeli-Egyptian relations. The United States is playing with fire, he said.“You cannot disassemble the peace treaty and take out this part or that part,” the official said. “But there are other elements in this conundrum. This is not just about Israel. This is about America’s standing in the Arab world. ”Noting that military aid is not just about tank shipments but also a sign of presence and commitment, he added: “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.
Begin,_Carter_and_Sadatat Camp David 1978
”Asked about American aid to Egypt, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said he would speak only “in general terms,” but made it clear that any withdrawal of aid was a concern.“Our interest is basically having the peace with Egypt continue,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a radio interview last week. “That peace was premised on American aid to Egypt, and I think that for us is the most important consideration, and I’m sure that’s taken under advisement in Washington.”Yuval Steinitz, Israel\’s minister of international and strategic affairs, declined to comment on the American decision, but said he did not think a withdrawal of aid would threaten the peace treaty. \”I think that Egypt should be strengthened and supported, generally speaking,\” Mr. Steinitz said in a telephone interview. “It’s very important that Egypt will stabilize, economically and politically. It’s very important for the world, for the Middle East, and for us, and first and foremost for the Egyptians.”After the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in the summer, Israel asked Washington not to cut aid to Egypt, arguing that any weakening of the Egyptian military would hurt the chances of stabilizing the country.“We did ask the Americans to give Egypt a chance,” the official said.Now, while insisting that Israel does not get into the details of American aid allocation, he warned that a shift in American policy toward Egypt “can quickly become a rift.”The news about Egypt was the latest in a series of developments that have underscored Israeli unease with American policy in the region. Israelis were dismayed by what they viewed as Washington’s too hasty abandonment of President Hosni Mubarak, a former ally, during the 2011 revolution in Egypt. They expressed concern over a possible erosion of American credibility when President Obama flip-flopped on his threat to strike Syria in retaliation for its use of chemical weapons against its citizens, even though Israel generally welcomed the Russian deal for a peaceful resolution. More recently, Israel publicly dismissed President Hassan Rouhani of Iran as a disingenuous wolf in sheep’s clothing who had no intention of halting Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons while President Obama was making overtures to explore the prospects of diplomacy.Israeli officials and experts say that the security cooperation between Israel and Egypt under Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, the Egyptian military leader who removed Mr. Morsi, has grown closer than ever. The Egyptian military has been fighting Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula, along the border with Israel, and destroying tunnels that were long used by the Hamas militant group to smuggle weapons into Gaza, where they could be used against Israel.Some analysts are worried that punitive cutbacks in aid could upset the consensus now prevailing in Egypt that this is not the time to touch the agreement with Israel, and stir up renewed calls for a review of the treaty.“The peace treaty was a package, and part of it was the military assistance,” said Ehud Yaari, an Israel-based fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and an Arab affairs analyst for Israel’s Channel 2. “You take one brick from the wall of Camp David, and the whole thing can collapse.”Prof. Efraim Inbar, the director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, said the Egyptian government was unlikely to blame Israel for the proposed cutbacks, knowing that Israel has been arguing for maintaining the aid.But he added that the political message being sent by Washington was “problematic” for Israel, Egypt and other Western-allied Arab states like Saudi Arabia.
via Israel Expresses Dismay at Cutback of U.S. Aid to Egypt – NYTimes.com.