Tapes reveal Egyptian leaders’ tacit acceptance of Jerusalem move

As Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, an Egyptian intelligence officer was quietly working to persuade Egyptians to accept the decision. (photo: Shadi Hatem / European Pressphoto Agency)

Arab governments publicly condemned President Trump’s statement on Jerusalem but criticism in state-owned and pro-government media across the Arab world was muted.

By David D. Kirkpatrick | The New York Times | Jan 6, 2018

“How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah, really?”
— Egyptian intelligence officer Capt. Ashraf al-Kholi

As President Trump moved last month to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, an Egyptian intelligence officer quietly placed phone calls to the hosts of several influential talk shows in Egypt.

“Like all our Arab brothers,” Egypt would denounce the decision in public, the officer, Capt. Ashraf al-Kholi, told the hosts.

But strife with Israel was not in Egypt’s national interest, Captain Kholi said. 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 currently houses the Palestinian Authority, Ramallah.

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