Saudi Arabia condemns ‘racist comments’ from Israeli minister against Palestine

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Saudi Arabia on Tuesday condemned “racist remarks” against Palestine, two days after Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said there was “no such thing as a Palestinian people.”

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Saudi Arabia did not specify which comments it was referring to but said it “condemns the offensive and racist statements made by an official of the Israeli occupation government against the State of Palestine and its brotherly people,” according to a foreign ministry statement.

“The Kingdom rejects these false remarks which contribute to propagating a speech of hatred and violence and undermine efforts of dialogue and international peace,” the ministry added.

Smotrich, who also heads a religious-nationalist party in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right coalition, said on Sunday, there was “no such thing as a Palestinian people,” or Palestinian history or culture.

His remarks drew criticism from several Arab countries including Jordan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

During his speech, Smotrich stood at a podium adorned with a map depicting Israel as including all of Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

The map prompted Amman to summon the Israeli ambassador in Jordan.

An official source told Reuters on Tuesday that Amman had received assurances from Israel that the statements by Smotrich did not represent Israel’s position.

The official source also said that Israel’s national security advisor had called Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi to assure him that Israel respected his country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Safadi said his government could adopt further steps if Israel repeated such provocations but did not elaborate.

(With agencies)

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