AIPAC, AJC laud Obama on Cairo intervention


WASHINGTON (JTA) — AIPAC and the American Jewish Committee praised the Obama administration for its intervention on behalf of Israel’s besieged Cairo embassy.

"AIPAC appreciates the immediate intervention by President Obama and the U.S. Administration to guarantee the safety of Israeli diplomats and their families whose lives were in danger by an Egyptian mob at the Israeli embassy in Cairo," the American Israel Public Affairs Committee said in a rare public statement. "AIPAC encourages the U.S. to continue to urge Egypt to adhere to its treaty obligations with Israel under the Camp David Accords and its international commitments to maintain the safety of foreign embassies and diplomats."

The AJC praised U.S. intervention in a letter sent Saturday to Obama.

"We know that American assistance to its democratic ally Israel in this fast-developing crisis – only the latest example of a historic and mutually beneficial partnership – also averted further strain in Egyptian-Israel relations, a pillar of regional peace and stability," the group’s leaders said in the letter.

During a riot outside the embassy last Friday night, protesters broke down the 8-foot-high security wall surrounding the embassy compound and entered the building.

Once the riots turned violent, Israel’s ambassador to Egypt, embassy personnel, their families and Israelis staying at the embassy were evacuated to Cairo’s airport and returned to Israel on a special Israel Air Force flight. Six employees stranded in the building were later removed by an Egyptian commando unit during a special rescue operation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the United States for intervening with Egypt in order to rescue the Israelis.

"I would like to express my gratitude to the president of the United States, Barack Obama," the Israeli leader said. "I asked for his help. This was a decisive and fateful moment. He said, ‘I will do everything I can.’  And so he did. He used every considerable means and influence of the United States to help us. We owe him a special measure of gratitude."

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