France slams Smotrich’s ‘infuriating’ claim that Palestinian nation doesn’t exist

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Religious Zionism party head Bezalel Smotrich speaks on March 19, 2023, at a memorial service in Paris for prominent right-wing Likud activist and Jewish Agency board member Jacques Kupfer, who passed away after a long battle with cancer in 2021. (Screenshot via Ynet, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Religious Zionism party head Bezalel Smotrich speaks on March 19, 2023, at a memorial service in Paris for prominent right-wing Likud activist and Jewish Agency board member Jacques Kupfer, who passed away after a long battle with cancer in 2021. (Screenshot via Ynet, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

France calls Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s assertion in Paris on Sunday that the Palestinian people do not exist “infuriating and irresponsible.”

“We call on those who were called to senior positions in the Israeli government to show the appropriate respect, to treat others with respect, and to avoid any action or statement that contributes to an escalation in tensions,” says French foreign ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre in response to a question.

Standing behind a map of “Greater Israel” that includes modern-day Jordan at a memorial event for a Zionist activist, Smotrich said that the Palestinian people were “an invention” from the last century, and that there was “no such thing as Palestinians because there’s no such thing as the Palestinian people.”

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