US says Israeli minister's 'no Palestinians' remarks 'dangerous'

AFP , Tuesday 21 Mar 2023

The United States on Tuesday joined denunciations of Israel's far-right finance minister for denying the existence of Palestinians, calling his remarks "dangerous."

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich in Jerusalem on March 5
Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich in Jerusalem on March 5. AP


"We found those comments to not only be inaccurate but also deeply concerning and dangerous," State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters, also calling Bezalel Smotrich's remarks Sunday in Paris "offensive."

"The Palestinians have a rich history and culture and the United States values our partnership with the Palestinian people," he said.

Patel also denounced the map on the podium where Smotrich spoke as "inaccurate."

Smotrich was paying a private visit in which he did not meet French government officials.

In a video circulating on social media, Smotrich quoted French-Israeli Zionist activist Jacques Kupfer as saying, "There are no Palestinians, because there isn't a Palestinian people."

But asked about how the remarks would affect US relations with ally Israel, Patel said that Smotrich was "not the only individual in the Israeli government."

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