Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said on Wednesday that comments on Israel attributed to him before he was elected, slammed as deeply offensive by the United States, were taken out of context.
"The president stressed they were taken from comments on the Israeli aggression against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, and stressed the need to put the remarks in the right context," said a statement from the presidency issued after Morsi met US Senator John McCain.
According to a TV clip released by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Morsi refers in a 2010 interview to "occupiers of Palestine" as "blood suckers and war mongers, and descendants of pigs and apes."
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"We must resist them with all forms of resistance. A military resistance in Palestine against these Zionist criminals assaulting the land of Palestine and Palestinians," he says in the remarks to Quds Channel three years ago.
In Wednesday's statement, Morsi "stressed his commitment to the principles he has always insisted on, including full respect for religions, freedom of faith and religious practices, especially the heavenly religions."
Morsi also "stressed the need to differentiate between Judaism and its adherents from (those who practise) violent actions against Palestinians."