Middle East

Israeli minister says ‘there is no such thing as a Palestinian people’

Israel’s settlement minister says Palestinian state would be ‘existential threat’

Abdelraouf Arnaout  | 22.02.2024 - Update : 22.02.2024
Israeli minister says ‘there is no such thing as a Palestinian people’


Israeli Minister of Settlement and National Missions Orit Strook on Thursday denied the existence of the Palestinian people.

“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people,” Strook said in a video on her X account of her speech during a Knesset session.

“There will never be a Palestinian state in the land of Israel,” she said. "Every cultured person in the world knows that this land is ours, for the Israeli people and only for us.”

The Israeli minister, who lives in an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank, claimed that a Palestinian state would be an “existential threat” to Israel and the "peace and order of the whole world."

“The large majority of the people of Israel oppose the establishment of the Palestinian state,” said the far-right minister, a member of Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism Party.

On Wednesday, the Knesset unanimously voted in support of a government decision to reject unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming all of Jerusalem as its “eternal and undivided” capital in a move never recognized by the international community.

The Palestinians, for their part, hope to establish an independent state of their own in the Gaza Strip and West Bank with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 Hamas attack. The ensuing Israeli attacks have killed more than 29,410 Palestinians and caused mass destruction and shortages of necessities, while less than 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

For the first time since its creation in 1948, Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, the highest judicial body of the United Nations, over its Gaza war.

An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

*Writing by Ahmed Asmar

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