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Newt Gingrich Calls Palestinians “An Invented People”

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    Newt Gingrich Calls Palestinians “An Invented People”

    Politico

    Former Speaker Newt Gingrich dismissed the Palestinian bid for statehood as the effort of an “invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community.”

    Gingrich also said the Palestinian Authority, which has typically represented the moderate wing of Palestinian leadership and formally accepts Israel’s right to exist, is motivated by “an enormous desire to destroy Israel.”

    Gingrich’s comments, in an interview with The Jewish Channel, edge him and his party further away from the two-state solution embraced over the last decade by presidents of both parties, and are the latest in a series of comments from Republican leaders that will set a sharply confrontational tone toward the Arab world if a Republican is elected next year.

    Gingrich has suggested in the past that he could support a Palestinian state in theory but that he has deep doubts about current Palestinian leadership and worries about Israeli security, but his comments casting doubt on the legitimacy of the Palestinian national movement align him with more conservative voices who believe Israel has a permanent right to the West Bank territories.

    “I believe that the Jewish people have the right to have a state, and I believe that the commitments that were made at a time,” Gingrich said in an interview with Steven I. Weiss. “Remember there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. And I think that we’ve had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places. And for a variety of political reasons we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940’s, and I think it’s tragic.”

    Gingrich’s House Republicans were a check on the Oslo peace process in the early 1990s, and Gingrich said in the interview that “it’s delusional to call it a peace process.”

    “I mean, we have an armed truce with a Palestinian Authority that’s relatively weak. And on its flank is a Hamas authority which may become relatively weak because it can’t deliver anything. But both of which represent an enormous desire to destroy Israel,” he said. “Frankly, given their school system and the hatred they teach in their schools, often with money that comes from us through the United Nations, I mean I think there’s a lot to think about in terms of how fundamentally you want to change the terms of debate in the region.”