US GOP front runner Newt Gingrich has stirred up a hornet's nest in an interview with the Jewish Channel. He declared Palestinians were an invented people and seemed to praise Israel's tough stance.
After the interview his campaign managers were quick to claim that Gingrich remains committed to a peaceful conclusion in the Middle East. They maintain that he still supports the establishment of a Palestinian state. However after his interview many people will wonder in what form.
Early in the week Gingrich claimed that if elected to be the Republican candidate he would name John Bolton , a pro-Israel former U.N. ambassador, as his secretary of state. This and his tough words today show that he favours Israel and Palestine will get short shrift.
Gingrich believes that the Jewish people have a right to the country of Israel but he has failed to make clear if he feels the same about Palestine. Surely the Palestinian people deserve the same?. A country of their own. They too have an historic right to being part of the region.
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, and were historically part of the Arab community. 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 1940's, and I think it's tragic."
Yes and it is tragic for the Palestinian people also. Without the support of rich countries like America they fail to prosper. Plenty of Jews living in Israel also had other places to go. Many moved to Israel from countries such as America. Both the Palestinians and the Jews deserve a peaceful place to live and raise their families.
You have to hope that ultimately both peoples will find their own space and peace and be able to co-habit side by side. When a would be President, such as Gingrich, holds such an interview to further his political ends inevitably his words will be tilted to suit the audience. As politicians posture and try to win votes conflicts and hatred are fuelled. They would be better choosing their words more carefully.
One conclusion though is that Gingrich would be a negative President as far as peace in the Middle East goes.
Senator Carl Levin has said that the Gingrich interview offered "no solutions -- just a can of gasoline and a match." In an AFP report he is said to have commented, "The vast majority of American Jews (including this one) and the Israeli government itself are committed to a two-state solution in which Israelis and Palestinians live side-by-side as neighbors and in peace.Gingrich's cynical efforts to attract attention to himself with divisive and destructive statements will not help his presidential ambitions since they are aimed at putting the peace between Israel and the Palestinians that Americans yearn for even further out of reach than it is today.
Exactly. Shame on him.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog