There is no such thing as Palestinians, says Israeli Finance Minister


Israel’s far-right Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich denied the existence of Palestinian people and said it was a concept made up less than 100 years ago,

Smotrich made the comments in Paris on Monday.

“There is no such thing as Palestinians because there is no such thing as  Palestinian people,’’ Smotrich said at an event in the French capital, according to media reports.

The concept, said Smotrich, had been invented by some Arabs in the region to fight the Zionist movement.

He added that, this historical truth must be heard around the world, including  the White House in Washington.

“There is no Palestinian history. There is no Palestinian language,’’ Smotrich continued in the address, which was delivered in Hebrew.

He added that people like him and his grandparents are the “true Palestinians’’and pointed out that his family had lived in the region for thirteen generations.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry reacted to Smotrich’s inflammatory remarks. He called the statement “racist, fascist and extremist’’ and said it encouraged further escalation in the region.

Smotrich’s comments came at the same time as talks were underway in Egypt between Palestinian and Israeli officials earlier on Sunday to curb spiralling violence in the region at talks, the second such meeting in less than a month.

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Officials had pledged to work to deescalate violence ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which will coincide with the Jewish holiday of Passover.

In past years, tensions flared during Ramadan between Palestinians and Israeli police.