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Palestinians condemn racist Zionist ideology

RAMALLAH: The Palestinian Authority on Monday called a Zionist minister’s remarks denying the existence of the Palestinian people “conclusive evidence” of the Zionist government’s “racist ideology”. The Zionist entity’s far-right finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, is part of veteran leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s government that took office in December, one of the most rightwing in the country’s history.

Bezalel Smotrich 

Smotrich, who has a history of incendiary remarks, faced international rebuke earlier this month after calling for a Palestinian town in the occupied West Bank to be “wiped out”. “There are no Palestinians, because there isn’t a Palestinian people,” he said on Sunday in Paris, quoting French-Zionist activist Jacques Kupfer at an event in his memory, according to a video circulating on social media.

Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said ahead of a cabinet meeting on Monday the “inflammatory statements” made by Smotrich “are consistent with the first Zionist sayings of ‘a land without a people for a people without a land'”. They provided “conclusive evidence of the extremist, racist Zionist ideology… of the current (Zionist) government”, Shtayyeh argued.

Evoking biblical “prophecies” that are “beginning to come true”, Smotrich said. “After 2,000 years… God is gathering his people. The (Zionist) people are returning home. There are Arabs around who don’t like it, so what do they do? They invent a fictitious people and claim fictitious rights to the land of, only to fight the Zionist movement,” he said. “It is the historical truth, it is the biblical truth,” he added.

“The Arabs in (the Zionist entity) must hear it, as well as certain Jews in (the Zionist entity) who are confused – this truth must be heard here at the Elysee Palace (in Paris), and at the White House in Washington, and everyone must hear this truth.”

The minister, who met no French government officials during his trip, was speaking from a lectern which featured a map of so-called Greater Zionist entity, including the West Bank, annexed Golan Heights, blockaded Gaza Strip and Jordan – the neighboring Arab country that signed a peace treaty with the Zionist entity in 1994. The Zionist entity has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967, when it also seized east Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights.

Smotrich’s comments came as Zionist and Palestinian representatives met in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Shiekh along with Egyptian, Jordanian and US officials for “extensive discussions on ways to de-escalate tensions between the Palestinians and (Zionists),” according to a joint statement. The Jordanian foreign ministry on Monday condemned the minister’s remarks, calling them “extremist racism” and Smotrich himself an “extremist”.

It warned in a statement that his “use of a map… that encompasses the border of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” may be in violation of the 1994 peace accord. Hamas, Gaza’s Islamist rulers, said the comments revealed the “racist and fascist policies” of the Zionist entity, urging the international community to take a “firm stance”.

Smotrich had called in early March for the Palestinian town of Huwara to be “wiped out” after two Zionists were shot dead there by an alleged Hamas militant. After the shooting, hundreds of rampaging Zionist settlers torched Palestinian homes and cars in the West Bank town, and a Palestinian man was killed in the nearby village of Zaatara. Speaking last month, the United Nations’ Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland called for the “cycle of violence” in the Zionist-Palestinian conflict to be “stopped immediately”.

Violence has intensified in the West Bank in recent months, coinciding with Netanyahu’s return to office. Since the start of the year, the conflict has claimed the lives of 86 Palestinian adults and children, including militants and civilians. – AFP

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