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May 19, 2024 4:08 pm

Palestinians ‘an invention’ of past century: Israel’s Smotrich

In a controversial statement, Israeli lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich has claimed that the Palestinians are “an invention” of the past century. Smotrich, a member of the far-right Religious Zionism party, made the comments during a debate in the Knesset on Tuesday.

According to Smotrich, the Palestinian people did not exist prior to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. He argued that the Palestinians were actually a group of Arab immigrants who arrived in the region during the 20th century.

“These so-called Palestinians are an invented people, and the idea of a Palestinian state is a fraud,” Smotrich said. “The land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people, and we have the right to live here in peace and security.”

Smotrich’s comments have sparked outrage among Palestinian leaders and human rights groups. Saeb Erekat, the Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), condemned Smotrich’s remarks as “racist” and “ignorant.”

“Smotrich’s comments are a reflection of the extremist views held by some Israeli politicians, who seek to deny the rights of the Palestinian people and erase their history and identity,” Erekat said in a statement.

Human rights group Amnesty International also criticized Smotrich’s comments, calling them “deeply offensive and factually incorrect.”

“The Palestinian people have a long and rich history in the region, and their right to self-determination and statehood is recognized under international law,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

Smotrich’s remarks come at a time of heightened tensions between Israel and the Palestinian territories. The Israeli government has been criticized for its handling of the ongoing conflict, which has resulted in the displacement of thousands of Palestinians from their homes in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

The international community has called on Israel to respect the rights of the Palestinian people and work towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict. However, comments like those made by Smotrich are likely to inflame tensions and further undermine efforts to achieve a lasting peace in the region.

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