US lawmaker: Aid to Egypt depends on peace with Israel

Kay Granger tells ‘Post’ that level of Muslim Brotherhood involvement in new Egyptian government will impact US assistance.

egyptian protesters israeli embassy_311 (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)
egyptian protesters israeli embassy_311
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany)
Washington’s $2 billion in annual aid to Egypt will be cut off if Cairo backs out of the peace treaty with Israel, Congresswoman Kay Granger – whose job as chairwoman of the US House appropriations foreign operations subcommittee means she literally writes America’s annual foreign aid bill – told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
“The United States aid to Egypt is predicated on the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, and so the relationship between Egypt and Israel is extremely important,” the eight-term Republican from Texas said in an interview.
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“As an appropriator I have two concerns: One thing is the continuing relationship between Egypt and Israel, and the other thing of course is what government we will be dealing with in Egypt, and what position the Muslim Brotherhood will play in this government.”
Granger, here among a delegation of 25 Republican congressmen sponsored by the American Israel Educational Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, said she is on record as saying that “if the treaty between Egypt and Israel is not continued, our financial support will not continue.”
She said she was not aware of any US threat to cut aid to Egypt during discussions this week on defusing the Israeli-Egyptian crisis following Thursday’s terrorist attack and the ensuing killing of three Egyptian security officials. A senior Israeli official said that not only was there no threat of a cutoff of aid, but that there was no need for such a threat, and Israel never asked for one.
While Egypt and Israel were in direct contact in defusing the crisis, the US was also heavily involved in the discussions as well.
Regarding how the Muslim Brotherhood’s participation in a future Egyptian government would impact the level of aid, Granger said this would depend “on how much of a position they have.”
Everyone, she said, assumed the Muslim Brotherhood would have some role and some participation in the next Egyptian government, but what will impact the level of US assistance will be the level of its governmental control.
She said all of this has been made clear to the Egyptians, and that at a meeting in March with transition head Field Marshal Muhammad Hussein Tantawi, the first thing she asked was whether the treaty with Israel would be honored.
“The answer was yes,” she said.
The tension with Egypt was raised during a meeting the Congressional delegation had with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, but she said he did not raise the aid issue.
Another official said that at the meeting Netanyahu said only the international community should “support the countries that keep the peace.”
Since the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, the US has provided Cairo with $2b. of aid annually, $1.3b. in military assistance and the rest in economic assistance.
Granger, who along with the delegation is scheduled to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, said it has been made clear that if the PA goes through with its statehood recognition bid at the UN in September, the roughly $500m. of US aid to the PA would be suspended. She said this would include money for Palestinian security training.
Granger said the message the delegation would bring to Abbas was that there was a strong “bipartisan desire” in the US Congress to see a return to peace negotiations “in a very serious way.”