Bezalel Smotrich in Paris: "There is no such thing with a Palestinian, this is the truth that needs to be heard in the White House" (from Twitter)
Saudi Arabia issued a statement today (Tuesday) condemning the words of Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who said at a conference in Paris last night that "there is no Palestinian people".
"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia condemns the racist statements of one of the senior officials of the Israeli occupation government against the Palestinian people," the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"These statements are false and spread a discourse of hatred and violence and harm efforts to achieve peace," the statement stated.
This is an extremely harsh message from the Saudi government, which unusually refers to Israel by the name of the "occupation government".
Prime Minister Netanyahu placed the normalization of relations with Saudi Arabia as one of the main goals of the government.
The Saudi announcement came after condemnations issued yesterday by Jordan and Egypt, and this morning the United Arab Emirates also issued a condemnation of Smotrich's words.
Also, National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi was forced to call Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Al-Safadi yesterday and set the record straight.
The Negev then tweeted in English only that Israel is committed to the peace agreement with Jordan and respects the kingdom's territorial integrity.
A senior Jordanian official told Sky News in Arabic that Negabi told the Jordanian foreign minister that Smotrich's words did not represent the Israeli government's position.
Smotrich (photo: Roni Knafo)
The conference in Paris where Smotrich spoke was a tribute event to the memory of Jacques Kupfer, who served as the world chairman of Likud. During his speech, the minister said, "Do you know who the Palestinians are?" Smotrich asked, and he replied: "I am Palestinian.
My grandmother, who was born in Metula more than a century ago to a pioneer family that established all the settlements in the north - is Palestinian.
My grandfather, who was in the 13th generation in Jerusalem, is the true Palestinian." According to him, the Palestinian people is "an invention of less than a century." Smotrich said these words while on the podium was the symbol of the Etzel, which shows a map of the entire Land of Israel - including the territory of Jordan.