Why did Morsi pull the reference to the Arab Peace plan from his United Nations speech?


Mohamed Morsi’s speech to the United Nations last month would have endorsed a comprehensive peace plan that would recognize Israel — had he stuck to his prepared remarks. Instead, Morsi pulled that passage in his delivered speech.

I just completed a story that considers differences of opinion over how best to deal with Mohamed Morsi’s apparent approval of — or, at least, his failure to disapprove of — calls to destroy Israel and to deal harshly with the Jews.

One of the issues Morsi’s U.S. critics cite is his failure to even mention the word "Israel." The switcheroo last month at the United Nations suggests he’s incapable of even referring to an existing Israel by implication.


As I wrote the story I had, at my virtual elbow, a transcript of Morsi’s speech as delivered to the United Nations last month. It tracks word-for-word with the interpreter’s version delivered in real time, available here.

My editor, upon receiving the story, asked me why I didn’t note Morsi’s endorsement in that speech of the Saudi-generated Arab League plan which would grant Israel peace and recognition in exchange for a pullback to the 1967 lines, the establishment of a Palestinian state and a solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees.

Because it wasn’t there, I said. So my editor pulled out a transcript of the speech — as prepared and distributed in advance by the Egyptian mission to the United Nations — and there it was:

The entire Palestinian leadership has charted a clear path towards the restoration of the rights of the Palestinian people, within and outside Palestine. The Arab world has given it its full support. The latter has also presented a comprehensive peace initiative based on just peace. One that restores the usurped rights of the Palestinian People, is founded on international legitimacy, and lays the foundation of an independent sovereign Palestinian state. One that also achieves the security and stability the peoples of the region have long been waiting for.

And this is what Morsi actually said:

I call for a peace that would establish an independent Palestinian state – sovereign Palestinian state, a peace that would achieve the security and stability long sought by the people of the region. On the same basis, I assure you of Egypt’s full support to any course of action Palestine decides to follow in the United Nations.

Another element from the prepared text that was omitted in the actual speech is Morsi’s commitment to abide by prior agreements — which would include the 1979 Camp David peace accords.

As written:

I say it loudly to those wondering about our position vis-a-vis the international agreements and conventions that we have previously adhered to: we are committed to what we have signed on. We also support the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and are determined to pursue all efforts side by side with them until they regain their rights.

As delivered:

We will continue to work next to the Palestinian people, supporting them until they get all their rights with their free will for all the Palestinians and every constituent of the Palestinian people.

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