While official White House policy following the July ousting of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi from power was to consider suspending the $1.6 billion annual aid package to the most populous Arab state, Israel was recruited by the Pentagon to try and convince President Barack Obama as well as Congress to continue the flow of funds from Washington to Cairo, Israeli daily Ma’ariv reported on Wednesday.
“The Pentagon, including Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, understood the serious ramifications of suspending aid to the Egyptian economy and regional security and thus asked Israel to act in order to attempt to soften the stance of some members of Congress who supported the suspension of aid,” a senior Israeli official told Ma’ariv.
The nerve center of Jerusalem’s campaign to persuade members of Congress and the White House was the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Ma’ariv said. Furthermore, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his October 2 White House meeting with President Obama, devoted considerable time to this issue and the implications of cutting aid to Egypt. Netanyahu explained to Obama that the cuts would be a violation of the 30-year-old peace treaty between Israel and Egypt that the United States effectively acts as a guarantor for, Ma’ariv reported.
Evidently, the effort bore fruit: A Senate panel approved a bill last Wednesday that would allow the United States to resume its aid relationship with Egypt by granting President Obama the power to waive a federal law based on national security.