This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 17 °C Sunday 21 July, 2019
Advertisement

Arab League condemns Gingrich's Palestinian remark

The Arab League has branded the US presidential hopeful’s comment that Palestinians were an “invented” people as a racist, cheap stunt designed to get votes.

Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich
Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich
Image: Charlie Neibergall/AP/Press Association Images

A SENIOR ARAB League official has condemned a statement by US Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich claiming Palestinians are an “invented” people, calling it racist and a cheap stunt to get votes.

However Israeli Cabinet minister Uzi Landau said Gingrich was “right.” He claimed the Palestinians do not have their own language or culture, and are instead part of the broader Arab world.

Gingrich also called Palestinians “terrorists.” The comments struck at the heart of Palestinian sensitivities about the righteousness of their struggle for an independent state. Applying the label “invented” suggests that the Palestinian quest for independence is not legitimate. He later sought to clarify his position, with his spokesman saying he supports the creation of a Palestinian state as part of a negotiated settlement with Israel.

“If an Arab or Palestinian official said a racist comment that was one-millionth of what this US candidate said, the world would have been in continuous uproar,” said Mohammed Sobeih, the Arab League official who handles Palestinian affairs. Gingrich’s comments were “irresponsible and dangerous,” he added.

“If these comments were made for political gains, then this is an even bigger disaster. But it appears that this is a cheap attempt to get more votes in an election,” said Sobeih. “And to get this small number of votes, this person sold America’s interests by denying international law and democratic principles.”

In Israel, a couple of hard-line politicians welcomed Gingrich’s comments.

However Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said the minister Landau was speaking for himself and did not represent official government policy. He added the government would not comment on the statements because they were part of an “internal American political campaign.”

Danny Danon, deputy speaker of Israel’s parliament and a minority voice among his hawkish Likud party, said Gingrich “understands very well the reality we live in in the Middle East.”

Many in Israel support the idea of an independent Palestine alongside Israel and recognise the Palestinian struggle for independence.

Watch: US presidential hopeful Romney offers rival $10,000 bet>

Read: US presidential hopeful Perry’s latest ad causes split in his own campaign>

Read: Herman Cain suspends US presidential campaign after affair allegations>

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Associated Press

Read next:

COMMENTS (22)