Palestinians leaders are denouncing comments made by U.S. Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who referred to Palestinians as an “invented” people.
The remarks from the former Speaker of the House of Representatives were released on Friday by the Jewish Channel, a U.S. cable television station.
Mr. Gingrich said historically, there was “no Palestine as a state. It was part of the Ottoman Empire.” He said Palestinian people were, in fact, Arabs.
On Saturday, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad called Mr. Gingrich’s comments “cheap and disgraceful.” The WAFA news agency also says he urged the leading presidential candidate to apologize.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called Mr. Gingrich’s remarks “despicable.” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the comments represented a call for the “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians.
A spokesman for Mr. Gingrich says the candidate supports a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians which would include an agreement between the two sides over the borders of a Palestinian state.