Michele Dunne -an expert on political and economic change in Arab countries, particularly Egypt, as well as U.S. policy in the Middle East- said that the US aid to Egypt since Camp David treaty has included explicit clauses and commitments regarding the human rights fields, which binds the successive Egyptian governments.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera TV Channel’s “From Washington” program, Michele Dunne discussed US military aids to Egypt that reached $1 billion 300 million annually and the criticism launched against the US administration in this regard.
In fact, Egypt has been the United States of America’s strategic partner for decades, and it has received billions of dollars fom the US.
Dunne confirmed that though the Obama administration believes that human rights during Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reign have deteriorated, however the US aids continue to flow there.
She ended her words sating, “The United States of America should send clear messages to Egypt on the human rights reality within the country especially that there is a responsibility towards an American citizen detained now,” pointing to Aya Hegazy, a dual citizen of the US and Egypt who has been in prison for over two years on false charges.
On his behalf, the journalist and political researcher Atef Abdel-Gawad called the US Congress to “increase the amount of aid given to Egypt if it wants Egypt to achieve further development in the human rights field.”
He justified his proposal saying that, “quarter of the Egyptian population is illiterate, the spending on health doesn’t exceed %5 of the GDP, spending on education is very low and unemployment is high, and it is known that human rights won’t improve unless there is a real improvement in development, and development in Egypt needs more aids.”
He also pointed that there two wings in the Congress: one calls for adopting a plan similar to Marshal plan (a plan adopted by US to recover European countries’ economy after World War II) to support Egypt’s economy and its efforts in fighting terrorism. On the other hand, there is another wing that calls to suspend the US aid to Egypt completely.
However, Abdel-Gawad said that the Congress should realize that the democratic transition in Egypt will take time and it needs decisive procedures that don’t match the American standards of human rights.
On the other hand, the Egyptian activist Samia Harris, who lives in the United States, rejected Atef Abdel-Gawad’s argument, as he linked the efforts of counter terrorism with the human rights violations.
According to her words, terrorism in Egypt is fake and it isn’t real, and al-Sisi is using this file to cover the human rights violations against his opponents and to control the country economically, politically, militarily and judicially.
She pointed to the presence of nearly 80,000 detainees in Egypt’s prisons for political reasons and said that she felt sorry that the United States doesn’t take human rights in Egypt in a serious way as its strategic interests come at the expense of the Egyptian people’s interests.
Moreover, the Egyptian activist highlighted the unprecedented support of the Jewish Lobby to al-Sisi in the United States to the extent that Netanyahu said it frankly that al-Sisi is the most close friend to Israel, stressing that the Jewish Lobby put pressure on the US administration to turn a blind eye on the violations adopted by the Egyptian authorities.