An opinion piece published in the Palestinian Authority’s official newspaper called US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace envoy a “mongoloid,” a pejorative term for someone who has Down syndrome, drawing a sharp rebuke from the American ambassador to Israel.
The column by Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, which appeared in Sunday’s edition of Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, railed against the White House’s yet-to-be-published plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace and the Trump administration officials behind it, among them Jason Greenblatt.
“Anyone who follows the prattle of Jason Greenblatt… sees that his condition is very similar to Down syndrome,” al-Ghoul wrote, according to a translation of the article by Palestinian Media Watch.
“Anyone who looks at the American envoy [Greenblatt] discovers that he has external and inner characteristics similar to those suffering from Down syndrome: He is short, his eyes are similar to Mongoloid eyes, he prattles unrestrainedly, and is politically retarded,” the columnist continued.
Al-Ghoul claimed it was not only Greeenblatt who appeared to suffer from Down syndrome but the entire Trump administration, calling it a “politically crippled creature.” He also said despite the “prattle” by Trump, Greenblatt, US Envoy to Israel David Friedman and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, the deal would fail, due to PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s opposition.
“They should know for certain that without the signature of PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, no deal will pass, and their foolish steps and policy will continue to be pointless,” al-Ghoul said.
The column was condemned later Sunday by Friedman.
“I am disgusted — not for Jason (he’s got broad shoulders) — but by this utter disregard for the value of every human life,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
In today’s issue of Al-Hayat al-Jadida, the official daily of the PA, Jason Greenblatt is criticized as a “Mongoloid” & acting as if he has Downs Syndrome. I am disgusted —not for Jason (he’s got broad shoulders) — but by this utter disregard for the value of every human life.
— David M. Friedman (@USAmbIsrael) March 3, 2019
Greenblatt later also slammed Al-Ghoul and his comments as “disgusting and demonstrate a complete disregard for the dignity of every human life.”
The comments of Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul are disgusting & demonstrate a complete disregard for the dignity of every human life. Terms like “mongoloid” & ‘retarded” have no place in a civilized world. Persons with Downs Syndrome deserve our utmost respect & love. Shame on you Omar! https://t.co/PvKduilgkQ
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) March 4, 2019
The column in Al-Hayat Al-Jadida came after Greenblatt and Kushner, who is also Trump’s son-in-law, visited the Middle East to discuss the White House’s peace plan, which is set to be released soon after general elections in Israel on April 9.
The PA has been boycotting the Trump administration since its 2017 recognition of Israel’s capital and top Palestinian officials have vowed to reject the proposal.
Greeenblatt has previously drawn the ire of PA officials over his involvement in US peace efforts and commentary on social media.