Israel perturbed by Obama’s outreach to Mursi – against his word
Israeli government and military leaders were taken aback by the news of US President Barack Obama’s invitation to the new Egyptian president Mohammed Mursi to visit Washington in September – in breach of the president's assurances to US Jewish leaders at the White House last month, debkafile’s exclusive Washington and Jerusalem sources report. His key assurance was that Mursi would not be invited to the White House and Obama would not maintain direct telephone contact with him until he met certain conditions, the foremost of which concerned a public and unambiguous commitment to Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel.
They American Jewish delegation was assured that President Mursi would be required to devote a section of his earliest speech on foreign affairs to the specific affirmation of his profound commitment to the peace pact with Israel. The unspecific pledge to uphold Cairo’s international accords he made upon his election on June 24 would not satisfy the US president, the American Jewish delegation was promised. Indeed the new Egyptian president would also be required to table the peace pact with Israel in the new Egyptian parliament for ratification.
With these assurances, the Jewish delegation was satisified.
However, it turned out Monday, July 8, that, instead of standing by his promises, President Obama had sent Deputy Secretary of State William Burns to Cairo for two days of interviews with Egyptian officials, in none of which did future relations with Israel figure. President Mursi’s spokesman then announced that the US official had handed the new president an invitation to visit the White House in September. Neither Burns nor the White House contradicted him.
Furthermore, in a briefing to reporters after he saw Mursi, Burns vehemently denied that the peace pact had been discussed.
Next Saturday, July 14, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is due in Cairo after a visit to Israel.
To signal disapproval and concern over the impact on Israel’s security of Washington’s unconditional outreach to Muslim Brotherhood-ruled Cairo, Prime Minster Binyamin Netanyahu has ordered the speeding up of construction on the fortified fence on the Israel-Egyptian border, known for decades as “the peace border,” and completion of the expanded military deployment in the border region.
In Jerusalem, the Obama administration is seen as suddenly backtracking on the conditions set the incoming Egyptian president in the last week of June, which essentially made US support of his regime conditional on his performance in key fields:
Those conditions were first revealed by DEBKA-Net-Weekly:
1. Observance of a democratic agenda;
1. Respect for human rights, namely women’s’ status and minority rights, especially relating to the Christian Copts;
2. The formation of a broad national unity government representing the country’s active mainstream parties – not just his own Muslim Brotherhood.
3. Making the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel a central pillar of his foreign policy;
4. Public affirmation of his commitment to uphold peace relations with Israel.
5. A resolute effort to curb the terrorist elements running wild in Sinai and threatening Israeli security by restoring Egyptian control.
6. An end to the rabid anti-American and anti-Western rhetoric pervading Egyptian media and the persecution of Western NGOs operating in Egypt.
The last three points give those demands the weight of an ultimatum:
7. Not until all the above steps are taken, will President Morsi be welcomed in Washington as an official guest.
8. Furthermore, not until the Egyptian president has satisfied Washington on all these scores will the Obama administration use its influence with the World Bank to ease Egypt’s dire liquidity problems and help find the cash to buy food on world markets. If Morsi can’t find the money to feed the population, hungry Egyptians will be out on the streets of their cities once again – clamoring this time for his and the Muslim Brotherhood’s removal.
Those conditions have mostly gone by the board along with President Obama’s promises, debkafile’s sources report.