Atlanta, GA -
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was criticized Saturday for calling the Palestinians "invented" people, and for labeling Palestinians ignorant and racist. He said these comments while doing an interview with The Jewish Channel, a cable TV station in the United States.
"I believe that the Jewish people have the right to have a state," Gingrich said in the interview. "Remember, there was no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire. And I think that we've had an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs, who are historically part of the Arab community."
He added, "And they had a chance to go many places and for a variety of political reasons, we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s. I think it's tragic."
However, his facts are not entirely accurate. Under the British Mandate, Palestine did exist, and it was only after WWII that the United Nations carved out a slice to make the State of Israel.
Palestinians have reacted by saying that American politics is so dirty. Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erakat said these remarks show just how lost, uninformed and blinded some in the world are and those comments are the very definition of racism. Erakat, who has negotiated in talks with Israel and the United States, said the remarks show "how really despicable things can get" in American politics.
"The Palestinian people inhabited the land since the dawn of history, and intend to remain in it until the end times," Fayyad said Saturday at an event in the West Bank city of Ramallah. "People like Gingrich must consult history, as it seems that all what he knows about the region is the history of the Ottoman era."
Fayyad said "despite oppression, occupation, and assaults, the Palestinian people remain steadfast in their historic land, and will achieve their legitimate rights."
But Gingrich, like most politicians, says things to specific groups to gain their support, even if the candidate or politician does not truly believe it in his own heart. So, how much he means what he said is still up for debate. Gingrich has been rising in the polls as Herman Cain drops out and Perry continues his nose dive.