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BGU Expert Comments on U.S. Aid Cuts to Egypt

BGU Expert Comments on U.S. Aid Cuts to Egypt

August 30, 2017

Social Sciences & Humanities

The Jerusalem Post–Last week, the Trump administration announced it will cut and delay nearly $300 million in military and economic aid to Egypt in an effort to reduce human rights abuses in that country.

Prof. Yoram Meital

The cuts were introduced shortly after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi endorsed a draconian law, which would give the Egyptian government control over funding to nonprofit organizations, undermining their ability to combat human rights violations.

Prof. Yoram Meital, chair of the Chaim Herzog Center for Middle East Studies and Diplomacy in BGU’s Department of Middle East Studies, believes that United States involvement will not influence Egypt’s human rights practices.

“Their overall reaction to the Americans will be: ‘you don’t appreciate what is at stake’,” Prof. Meital explains in Sisi’s voice. “ ‘We are fighting Islamic State groups under very difficult circumstances, to the west from Libya and to the east from Sinai. We are in war and you can’t put the focus on human rights while ignoring the context’.”

According to Prof. Meital, President Sisi believes the Islamic State and the Muslim Brotherhood share a common goal of destroying Egypt. “His approach is that there is no other option but to work as if war is happening. And under these circumstances, Egyptians should lower their expectations of human rights and democratic values and realize that what has to be done is to restore stability and defeat extremism,” he says.

Prof. Meital predicts that President Sisi will try to exploit his positive relations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to enlist the latter’s support in persuading the U.S. to reverse the cuts.

Read the full story on The Jerusalem Post website>>