Israel urges Europe, U.S. to support Egypt

Aug. 19, 2013 at 7:36 AM
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JERUSALEM, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Israel will intensify efforts this week, urging Europe and the United States to back the interim Egyptian government and army, a senior Israeli official said.

The Egyptian army is the only hope to prevent further chaos in Cairo, the senior Israeli official told The New York Times Sunday. To press Israel's position, Israeli ambassadors will lobby abroad and Israeli government officials will meet with foreign diplomats to stress the Egyptian military-backed government is the only way to prevent further chaos, the official said.

The official asked not to be identified because of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's request that Israeli government officials refrain from publicly commenting on the situation in Egypt, the paper said.

"It's very important for us to make certain countries understand the situation as we see it," the official said. "We do that with a sense of urgency. This is something we're going to try and share with as many influential countries as we can this week."

"We're trying to talk to key actors, key countries, and share our view that you may not like what you see, but what's the alternative?" the official asked. "If you insist on big principles, then you will miss the essential -- the essential being putting Egypt back on track at whatever cost. ... At this point, it's army or anarchy," the official told the newspaper.

Removal of Washington's $1.5 billion annual aid package to Egypt could cause the 34-year old peace treaty between Israel and Egypt to unravel.

"From the Israeli perspective it is security, security and security -- and then other issues," Yoram Meital, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev told the paper. "The Obama administration took a stand that has a lot to do with universal values. Of course, killing hundreds of protesters in this brutal way should be condemned. If we study the Israeli perspective, then these universal values are secondary to the top priorities of security and security."

"I understand Washington and Europe with their criticism, but there is no alternative to letting the army in Egypt try by force," Eli Shaked, former Israeli ambassador to Egypt told the paper. "We have to choose here not between the good guys and the bad guys -- we don't have good guys. It is a situation where you have to choose who is less harmful."

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