U.S. should consider ending $2 billion in Egypt aid
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has urged the Israeli government to make it clear that, in the event that Egypt cancels the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty, as several prominent Egyptian figures have proclaimed in recent days, Israel will also cancel the treaty and rescind its major concessions under it. This means that it would consider retaking the Sinai desert; its four oil wells, developed by Israel; re-establish its former air force bases there; and re-build Yamit, the Jewish town from which 5,000 Jews were forcibly removed as part of the treaty. The U.S. should also consider ending its $2 billion in annual aid to Egypt if it cancels the treaty.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, The Egypt-Israel peace treaty is a legal, contractual undertaking by both sides. It requires the faithful performance of all treaty obligations. It is both absurd and unthinkable that Egypt can retain all of Israels concessions, while Israel loses Egypts obligation to maintain peace and recognition.
We also urge that, if Egypt cancels the treaty, the U.S. must also consider cancelling all further aid to Cairo and removing its military advisers, who have expertly trained Egypts armed forces. The more than $60 billion in aid over three decades has enabled Egypt to build up one of the largest armies in the Middle East, twice the size of Israels, with over 1,000 tanks, 300 F-15 fighter jets, over a dozen warships, missiles and chemical weapons.
If Egypt had abrogated the treaty, shall we say, six months or a year after the treaty was originally signed in 1979, there would be simply no question that Egypt would not able to keep the concessions made by Israel under the treaty as if nothing had happened. It would also be unthinkable that the U.S. would start, or continue, to give $2 billion in U.S. annual aid to a country that had just flagrantly abrogated the very treaty under which it was to receive U.S. aid.
In fact, top U.S. officials have recently told me that the $2 billion in aid would likely not continue if Egypt cancelled the treaty. They also told me that they would surely be using U.S. aid as leverage to pressure any future Egyptian government not to abandon this treaty.
It makes no difference that 30 years have passed since the signing of the treaty. The treaty was not a limited one of thirty, or a hundred years. Egypt cannot renounce the treaty without automatically forfeiting whatever it gained by it. Israel should be making this crystal clear to those in authority in Egypt as well as to whomever else may come to power in Cairo. By doing so, Israel may play a valuable, stabilizing and restraining influence on Egypt. By showing that significant negative consequences could flow from Egypt abrogating the peace treaty, Israel would reduce the likelihood of Egypt doing so.