A report from Saudi newspaper “Ilf” claims that the United Arab Emirates is considering reducing its diplomatic representation in Israel in response to comments made by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich at a conference in Paris. The Emirati Foreign Ministry has reportedly ordered its ambassador to Israel not to meet with any Knesset member or minister and to avoid any official ceremonies attended by Israeli politicians. The country is also said to be surprised by the silence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the issue. Smotrich’s comments denying the existence of a Palestinian people have caused condemnation from many countries in the Arab world, including Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
The United Arab Emirates is considering reducing the level of its diplomatic representation in Israel, the Saudi newspaper “Ilf” reported last night. This, in response to the words of the Minister of Finance, Bezalel Smotrichat a conference in Paris that “there is no such thing as a Palestinian people”.
According to the report, the Emirati Foreign Ministry ordered the ambassador to Israel, Muhammad Al-Hajja, not to meet with any official, member of the Knesset or minister of Israel. In addition, the ambassador is also prohibited from participating in official ceremonies where ministers and politicians in the Israeli government will be present. Sources in the Emirates stated that the country is surprised by the Prime Minister’s silence, Benjamin Netanyahuabout the troubles, which they claim, “affect the stability of the region, inflame hatred and keep only the extremists”.
Smotrich’s words caused a great stir in the Arab world, when many countries condemned his words. Meanwhile, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry attacked the Minister of Finance, and the official statement from Amman stated that “Jordan condemns the inciting and racist statements of the Israeli minister against the Palestinian people, their right to exist and their historical right to an independent and sovereign state. We warn against consenting to these racist and extreme actions.”
Saudi Arabia also condemned Israel, and in a statement from Riyadh, it was emphasized that “the kingdom rejects the false statements that contribute to the spread of hate speech and violence and undermine efforts for dialogue and international peace.” It was also reported that “the ministry also reaffirms the kingdom’s support for all international efforts aimed at solving the Palestinian issue on the basis of the Arab peace initiative and ensuring the advancement of the Palestinian state within the borders of ’67 with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
As I recall, last Sunday, the Minister of Finance spoke at an event held in memory of Jacques Kupfer, who was the head of the Freedom Movement in France and active in the Zionist Organization, that “there is no such thing as a Palestinian people. The Palestinian people is an invention that is less than 100 years old. I am a Palestinian, My grandfather, who was 13th generation in Jerusalem, is the real Palestinian. My grandmother, who was born in Toula more than 100 years ago to a family of pioneers, is Palestinian.”
The minister also said that “there are five characteristics that define a nation – history, culture, language, currency and historical leadership. 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? No. There are Arabs. who are in the Middle East and arrived in the Land of Israel at the same time as the Jewish immigration and the early days of Zionism. After 2,000 years of exile, the people of Israel are returning home, and there are Arabs around who do not like it. So what do we do? They invent a fictitious people and claim fictitious rights in the Land of Israel just to fight the Zionist movement.”