by Ray Fleming

Before he left Cairo to attend the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi gave an interview to the New York Times in which he set out clearly for the first time his view of relations between his country and the United States. He said, “Arabs and Americans have a shared objective, each to live free in their own land, according to their customs and values, in a fair and democratic fashion.” The two nations, he said, are “real friends”.

He praised President Obama for “moving decisively and quickly” to support the Arab Spring. But he also said it is necessary for the United States to change fundamentally its approach to the Arab world, showing greater respect for its values and helping to build a Palestinian state. In what was probably the most pointed passage in the interview he said that the preference of “successive American governments” for Israel over the Palestinians had “essentially purchased with American taxpayers money the dislike, if not the hatred, of the people of the region.” It is clear that President Morsi intends to pursue the issue of Palestinian statehood; his remarks about the provisions of President Carter's Camp David Accord of 1978 on this issue were general in character but showed he has not forgotten the unfulfilled business of that Accord, including Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank.