Israeli lawmaker urges US Senate to sanction Egypt

Monday, November 12, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Egypt is behaving contrary to US interests in the Middle East and is impeding long-term peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and should therefore not be the recipient of so many American taxpayers' dollars, a leading Israeli lawmaker wrote to the US Senate on Sunday.

In a letter written at the behest of Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Arizona), The Jerusalem Post reported that Knesset Member Yuval Steinitz (Likud) explained to the American senators that Hamas only took over the Gaza Strip and established itself as a formidable terrorist and military force there because Egypt allowed it to.

Despite sharing a border less than nine miles long with the Gaza Strip, Egypt has failed to prevent that border from becoming an entry point for tons of small arms, rockets and high grade explosives into the Hamas-controlled territory.

"Egypt's de facto behavior in the field supports Hamas," wrote Steinitz. "As long as Egypt is not required to pay a real price for this behavior, weapons and financial aid will continue to flow into the hands of Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza."

Steinitz urged the Senate to vote in favor of a bill recently passed by the US House of Representatives that would freeze $200 million of the $1.3 billion in annual US military aid to Egypt each year until Cairo ends its support for Hamas.

Meanwhile, Egypt remains at the forefront of Arab efforts to reconcile Hamas to the Palestinian Authority. Israel and the US insist that Hamas, despite being elected to power by an overwhelming majority of Palestinians, must play no role in Palestinian government until it recognizes Israel's right to exist and renounces the use of terrorist violence against the Jewish state.

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