JERUSALEM - Palestinian officials are reacting with dismay
to Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich's statement that they
are an "invented" people.
which the former House Speaker said Palestinians were not a people
because - unlike Israelis - they never had a state.
"Remember, there was no Palestine as a state," Gingrich said. "It was part of the Ottoman Empire.
"I think we have invented the Palestinian people, who are in fact
Arabs and who are historically part of the Arab community, and they had a
chance to go to many places, and for a variety of political reasons, we
have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s. It's tragic."
Palestinian official Nabil Abu Rdeneh on Saturday described Gingrich's comments as "unfortunate" and called him "ignorant".
Spokesman for Gaza's militant Hamas rulers Fawzi Barhoum says Gingrich displayed "genuine hostility" toward Palestinians.
In the interview, Gingrich also said President Barack Obama's effort
to treat Palestinians as the same as the Israelis is "favoring the terrorists."