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Gingrich Under Fire For Comments On Palestinians
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Republican presidential front-runner Newt Gingrich stood by his assertion that the Palestinians are an "invented people," drawing criticism from other GOP candidates.

"Is what I said factually correct? Yes. Is it historically true? Yes," Gingrich said during a GOP debate Saturday night in Iowa. "We are in a situation where every day rockets are fired into Israel while the United States -- the current administration -- tries to pressure the Israelis into a peace process."

"Somebody ought to have the courage to tell the truth,” he continued. "These people are terrorists, they teach terrorism in their schools … it’s fundamentally the time for somebody to have the guts to say enough lying about the Middle East."

Gingrich first made the "invented people" comment in an exclusive interview with The Jewish Channel.

In response to Gingrich's comments at the debate, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said: "That’s just stirring up trouble."

Many prominent Jewish Republicans view Paul as an isolationist, whose opposition to tough anti-Iran actions and foreign aid, including for Israel, would be bad for the Jewish state. He was not invited to last week's Republican Jewish Coalition candidates' forum. But Gingrich also drew criticism from GOP candidates with records of strong support for Israel.

Mitt Romney, ranked first or second in most polls, said he agreed with Gingrich's comments about Palestinian terrorism, but said the former House Speaker went too far in publicly questioning Palestinian peoplehood.

"I happen to agree with most of what the speaker said, Romney responded. "Except by going and saying that most the Palestinians are an invented people. That I think was a mistake on the speaker’s part."  Romney warned against throwing “incendiary words into a place which is a boiling pot” -- and that doing so could make things harder for Israel.

Another candidate with strong pro-Israel credentials, Rick Santorum, made similar remarks after the debate.

In recent days, Gingrich's campaign issued a statement stressing that despite his comments on Palestinian peoplehood he still favors the eventual creation of a Palestinian state. The statement, released by spokesman R.C. Hammond, declares that "Newt Gingrich supports a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, which will necessarily include agreement between Israel and the Palestinians over the borders of a Palestinian state."

Hammond added: "However, to understand what is being proposed and negotiated you have to understand decades of complex history, which is exactly what Gingrich was referencing during the recent interview with The Jewish Channel."

Gingrich's comment has been criticized even stronger terms by an assortment of Palestinian spokesmen and liberal commentators.

Last Update:

12/15/2011 - 13:18

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Congratulations to Newt for telling the truth and sticking with it. There was no country of Palestine. These are Arabs who have been sequestered in this territory by their own Arab cousins in surrounding countries.

bravo to newt for saying the truth! The Palestinians are just Arabs who came into the land looking for work from Jews, and ended up staying. They have no other identity other than Arabs/Syrians/Egyptians etc.

Gingrich was factually correct, but it may be better said this way: it is not so much that the palestinians themselves are an invention, but rather it is their history that is an invention.

The palestinans are not an ancient people coming from the Land of Israel as they claim to be (and as the Jews actually are). They are merely a political construct (which became known in the 1950's and really caught on after the '67 war) that was developed in order fight zionism.

The palestinians could not beat Israel in a conventional war, so they have (intelligently) changed their strategy to one that denies historical fact. Their strategy has been to over- emphasize the historical palestinian connection to the land and deny the Jewish connection. And the world has all too easily gone along with it.

You do not have to deny the truth in order to be in favor of a 2-state solution. In fact, this insistence on political correctness and denial of the truth has only served to delegitimize Israel's right to the Land of Israel in the minds of many (if not the majority of the people in the world). And it has severely distorted historical fact.

When we allow others to rewrite history we are doing a disservice to the Jewish people. While we are bending over backwards to recognize palestinians and their rights, they are running a concerted and successful campaign to deny ours. We ought to be a bit less vocal about their rights and a little more vocal about our own, lest we lose them altogether.

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