A senior Egyptian intelligence officer asked several influential TV hosts in Egypt to urge their viewers to accept President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem announcement, according to the New York Times.
In a report published on Saturday, the newspaper said that it obtained audio recordings in which Egyptian Captain Ashraf al-Kholi told the hosts that instead of condemning the decision they should downplay its significance and persuade their viewers to accept it.
In one recording, Captain al-Kholi says: “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, O.K.?.
He further argued that widespread unrest over Washington’s move would “revive the Islamists and Hamas,” adding that the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “will become a reality. Palestinians can’t resist and we don’t want to go to war. We have enough on our plate.”
The story was confirmed by TV host Azmi Megahed. The recordings were provided to the New York Times by an intermediary supportive of the Palestinian cause and opposed to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Following the report, the Egyptian State Information Service said: “Egypt’s positions on international issues are not derived from alleged leaks from an anonymous source. Rather, Egypt’s positions are conveyed by the president, the minister of foreign affairs and in official statements as well.”
Following U.S. President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem announcement, Egypt submitted a UN Security Council resolution demanding a reversal of the decision, whilst Egyptian state media reported that President al-Sisi had personally protested to Trump. The Security Council resolution was vetoed by the U.S.