Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi described Zionists as “bloodsuckers” and descendants of apes and pigs, urged “military resistance” against Israel, and called to sever all ties with the Jewish state, in Arabic interviews that were posted on the Internet in 2010.
The footage was found, translated, reposted and transcribed this week by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute.
In the footage, described by MEMRI as “archival interviews” that were originally posted online in 2010, Morsi declares: “The Zionists have no right to the land of Palestine. There is no place for them on the land of Palestine. What they took before 1947-8 constitutes plunder, and what they are doing now is a continuation of this plundering. By no means do we recognize their Green Line. The land of Palestine belongs to the Palestinians, not to the Zionists.”
Since winning Egypt’s first democratic elections last June, after the ousting of longtime president Hosni Mubarak, Morsi has significantly toned down his anti-Israel rhetoric. Morsi’s ascent to power sparked fears among Israelis regarding the future of the 1979 peace treaty. However, his voiced assurances that he would respect Egypt’s international obligations — as well as his appointment of a new ambassador to Tel Aviv in October after nearly a year’s absence — went some way to alleviate concerns.
The Egyptian president also exchanged correspondence with his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres on two occasions in recent months — once in July, shortly after coming into office, and again in a letter of credence handed to Peres during the new ambassador’s inauguration.
“Great and good friend,” Morsi wrote in the protocol-following letter to Peres, “being desirous of maintaining and strengthening the cordial relations which so happily exist between our two countries, I have selected Mr. Atef Mohamed Salem Sayed El Ahl to be our ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary.”
In both cases, Morsi came under harsh criticism from members of the Muslim Brotherhood for the missives.
However, Morsi’s attitude to Israel has also seen downturns during his brief months in office.
Egypt recalled its ambassador in November after Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense against terrorist organizations in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. A month earlier, Morsi was captured on video mouthing the word “Amen” after a prayer service in Cairo, where the preacher urged Allah to “destroy the Jews and their supporters.”
Since then, Morsi has been largely silent on Israel, despite helping broker a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, ending the eight-day Pillar of Defense conflict in which the air force conducted hundreds of strikes on military targets in Gaza, and terrorists fired roughly 1,500 rockets on Israeli communities.
In the 2010 interviews highlighted by MEMRI, Morsi is seen dismissing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as a waste of time.
“These futile [Israeli-Palestinian] negotiations are a waste of time and opportunities. The Zionists buy time and gain more opportunities, as the Palestinians, the Arabs, and the Muslims lose time and opportunities, and they get nothing out of it. We can see how this dream has dissipated. This dream has always been an illusion… This [Palestinian] Authority was created by the Zionist and American enemies for the sole purpose of opposing the will of the Palestinian people and its interests,” said Morsi to Lebanese al-Quds TV. “No reasonable person can expect any progress on this track. Either [you accept] the Zionists and everything they want, or else it is war. This is what these occupiers of the land of Palestine know — these blood-suckers, who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.”
Morsi was also recorded urging Palestinians, as well as Muslims around the world, to engage in “resistance” to the Zionist cause.
“There should be military resistance within the land of Palestine against those criminal Zionists, who attack Palestine and the Palestinians. There should also be political resistance and economic resistance through a boycott, as well as by supporting the resistance fighters. This should be the practice of the Muslims and the Arabs outside Palestine,” Morsi said. “None of the Arab or Muslim peoples and regimes should have dealings with them. Pressure should be exerted upon them. They must not be given any opportunity, and must not stand on any Arab or Islamic land. They must be driven out of our countries.”
Morsi also uttered traditional anti-Semitic canards about the nature of Jews. “They have been fanning the flames of civil strife wherever they were throughout history. They are hostile by nature,” he said.