Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich on Sunday told an assembly in Paris that “there’s no such thing as “Palestinian people.” He argued: “Who was the first Palestinian king? What’s the Palestinians’ language? Was there ever a kingdom of Palestine? Is there a Palestinian history or culture?”
Smotrich spoke at a memorial ceremony for the late Jacques Kupfer, who was head of the World Zionist Organization’s Department of Diaspora Zionist Activities and French Speakers, and a member of the Zionist Executive, and the Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors. He passed away two years ago.
“My grandfather, who was a 13th generation in Jerusalem, is the real Palestinian,” Smotrich said, reiterating: “My grandmother, who was born in Metula more than 100 years ago to a family of pioneers, is Palestinian.”
Smotrich believes the “Palestinian nation” was “an invention that’s less than 100 years old.”
“The White House and the Élysée Palace need to hear the truth,” he added.
In 2017, Smotrich published his foundation document regarding Israeli-Arab relations, titled: “The Decisive Plan: The Key to Peace Is on the Right,” which he sub-headlined: “The two-state model brought Israel to a dead end: despair of the possibility of ending the conflict and turning to ‘managing’ it as our cruel and eternal destiny. The alternative depends on the willingness of Israeli society to reach a decision instead of managing the conflict, a decision whose main point is the understanding that there is no place in the Land of Israel for two contradictory national movements.”
The memorial event was supposed to be sponsored by JNF-KKL, but it was initially reported that they announced it was removing its sponsorship and asked not to use its logo in advertising the event, because of Smotrich’s participation. But a JNF-KKL spokesperson told JewishPress.com that they actually weren’t even informed of the event. Last week, the French Foreign Ministry announced its representative would also stay away over Smotrich’s participation, adding they do not intend to meet with him during his visit.
The JNF-KKL logo was replaced by a map depicting both banks of the Jordan river, the original map of the Jewish homeland in Palestine as determined by the San Remo Conference of April 1920. It also happened to be the Irgun’s logo. Jordan was reportedly not too happy about that particular map.
PM Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said Monday morning that “the statement of Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich that there are no Palestinian people and that this is a creation of the last hundred years, is conclusive proof of the racist and extreme Zionist view that dominates the current Israeli government.”
Shtayyeh did not offer the name of the first Palestinian king or the date when the kingdom of Palestine was established. On the other hand, he also had nothing to say about Bezalel Smotrich’s granny.