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EU’s top diplomat urges Israel to reject minister’s remarks that Palestinians don’t exist

EU’s top diplomat urges Israel to reject minister’s remarks that Palestinians don’t exist
Josep Borrell calls finance minister’s comments ‘wrong, disrespectful, dangerous’ amid rising tensions

By Agnes Szucs

BRUSSELS (AA) - The European Union’s foreign policy chief urged Israel on Monday to reject remarks by the Israeli finance minister denying the existence of the Palestinian nation.

Speaking at a news conference, Josep Borrell deplored Bezalel Smotrich’s “unacceptable” comments.

“Is there a Palestinian history or culture? There isn’t,” Smotrich said Sunday at a conference in Paris.

“There is no such thing as Palestinians because there is no such thing as a Palestinian people,” he added.

Borrell pointed out that these remarks “certainly cannot be tolerated” as they “go in the opposite direction” of reconciling Palestinians and Israelis and finding a long-lasting solution in the Middle East.

He called “on the Israeli government to disavow those comments and to start working together with all parties to defuse tensions.”

“I repeat, this is wrong, disrespectful, dangerous and counterproductive” in the current situation when tensions have been rising, Borrell asserted.

“Could you imagine if a Palestinian leader would have said the State of Israel doesn't exist?”

Borrell reiterated the EU’s commitment to a peaceful two-state solution.

Violence has escalated across the occupied territories in recent weeks amid repeated Israeli military raids into Palestinian towns.

Smotrich, who is the chairman of the far-right Religious Zionist Party, caused international outrage earlier this month by calling on Israeli settlers to “erase” the Palestinian town of Hawara.

source: News Feed
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