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Mohammed Morsi Photo: AP
Mohammed Morsi Photo: AP
 
Protests in Cairo Photo: Reuters
Protests in Cairo Photo: Reuters
 
 

Morsi: What do we have to lose with Palestine?

Egyptian president stresses need for Mideast stability, says Egypt is helping Palestinians gain foothold

Yitzhak Benhorin
Published: 11.29.12, 13:02 / Israel News

WASHINGTON - A day after over 100,000 people rallied against Mohammed Morsi in Cairo, Time Magazine has released an interview with the Egyptian president, who is in the lead for the weekly publication's Person of the Year title.

 

In the interview Morsi emphasized the need for peace in the Middle East, but nevertheless spoke in favor of the Palestinian resistance – a term used to describe terrorism employed by militant groups.

 

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"Everyone talks about peace, everyone talks about development, everyone talks about independence of different countries … But actually, on the ground, the action is weak," Morsi said.

 

"I think we are more than 190 states. Now the Palestinians are trying to have a foot on the ground. And we help them. That doesn’t mean they will be capable to (stage) attacks on others. I don’t think they have this capability. The maximum they have is to resist, is to say what (do) we have to lose?"

 

The Islamist president, whose country mediated the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas last week, lauded truce and noted that US President Barak Obama was instrumental in reaching it.

 

"President Obama has been very helpful, very helpful," he said. "And I can say really that his deeds coincide with his intentions. We’ve been talking together about the ceasefire, that’s very important, then we can talk about differences between Palestinians and Israelis.

 

"It’s not easy. It’s very difficult. Both sides are talking about differences. We want them to talk about similarities…. We are now doing this job as much as we can."

 

Development cheaper than war

Morsi stressed that maintaining stability within his country and across the Mideast is imperative but is fraught with obstacles.

 

"The stability of this area, Egypt and surroundings, is very important," he said. "That’s why we have a big challenge in Egypt. We have forces that try to drag back. This is no doubt.

 

"And also you can see that in Tunisia. You can see that in Libya. You can see that seriously in Syria, dragging situations back to whatever it was is a (goal). We’re fighting (for this goal), not the people.

 

"And this area should have its opportunity to develop. The price of development is much, much cheaper than war. People are looking strongly to see better situations, better lives for their children, grandchildren, for their area."

 

The interview was released on Wednesday on the backdrop of mounting tension in Egypt, where opponents accuse Morsi of seeking to impose a new era of autocracy. The president is expected to make a speech on Thursday to address the decree that expanded his powers and barred court challenges to his decisions.

 

 

 

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