Far-right Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich has told an audience at an event in Paris “the Palestinian people are an invention that is less than 100 years old.”
Speaking to an appreciative audience on Sunday night – at a memorial event for Likud activist and Jewish Agency board member Jacques Kupfer – Smotrich said:”Jacques’ truth must be told with all our might and without confusion, he said there is no such thing as Palestinians – because there is no such thing as a Palestinian people.
“We need to tell the truth without bowing to the lies and distortions of history, and without succumbing to the hypocrisy of BDS and the pro-Palestinian organisations.”
The Religious Zionism leader delivered his speech at the memorial service with a banner that appeared to display an image of a Greater Israel map hanging in front of him.
The borders of the map on display at the event appeared define Israel’s borders are being inside parts of Syria and Jordan, in addition to including the West Bank and Gaza.
Smotrich, who has a long history of making inflammatory statements against Palestinians recently sparked international outrage after calling to “wipe out” the Palestinian town of Huwara in the West Bank following a deadly Palestinian terror attack
In further inflammatory comments, made at the event to mark the second anniversary of Kupfer’s death from cancer, Smotrich also claimed that he himself is actually a Palestinian.
“My grandfather, who was the 13th generation in Jerusalem, is the real Palestinian. My grandmother, who was born in Metula more than 100 years ago to a family of pioneers, is Palestinian,” he said.
He then added:”Is there a Palestinian history or culture? No. There were Arabs in the Middle East who arrived in the Land of Israel at the same time as the Jewish immigration and the beginning of Zionism.
“After 2,000 years of exile, the people of Israel were returning home, and there were Arabs around [us] who do not like it. So what do they do? They invent a fictitious people in the Land of Israel and claim fictitious rights in the Land of Israel just to fight the Zionist movement.”
Smotrich’s comments, were greeted with loud cheers from the audience at the event, a video recording circulated afterwards online confirmed.
Also referencing the rules of international law Smotrich said “the rules have five characteristics that define a nation – history, culture, language, currency and historical leadership. ”
He then added:” Who was the first Palestinian king? What language do the Palestinians have? Has there ever been a Palestinian currency? Is there a Palestinian history or culture? There isn’t any.”
Smotrich, an outspoken opponent to the establishment of a Palestinian state, also serves as a minister in the defence ministry.
Coalition government agreements give him authority over a unit in charge of civilian affairs in Area C of the West Bank where Israel has full security and civilian control.
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