The Palestinian Authority, Egypt, and Jordan have condemned as “racist” a firebrand Israeli minister’s remarks denying the existence of the Palestinian people, with Amman summoning Israel’s ambassador for a rebuke.
Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich had already faced international rebuke in early March after calling for a Palestinian town in the occupied West Bank to be “wiped out” after its settlers rampaged through it, killing one Palestinian and setting fire to cars and homes. “There are no Palestinians, because there isn’t a Palestinian people,” he said on Sunday in Paris, quoting French-Israeli Zionist activist Jacques Kupfer at an event in his memory, according to a video circulating on social media.
Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, dubbed the minister’s remarks “completely unhelpful,” stressing the Palestinian people “obviously” exist. The European Union’s foreign policy chief also criticized Smotrich’s statement. EU diplomat Joseph Borrell said, “It is wrong, it is disrespectful, it is dangerous, it is counterproductive to say these kinds of things in a situation which is already tense.”
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