US Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has once again defended his statement about Palestinians being an “invented” people amid a wide-scale anti-Palestinian campaign by American presidential candidates.
During a debate in Florida on Thursday night, Gingrich reiterated his earlier comment on Palestinians and said, "It was technically an invention of the late 1970s," Gingrich said, adding, "Prior to that they were Arabs."
Last month, Gingrich claimed that "we have had an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs, and who were historically part of the Arab community."
The former speaker of the US House also pointed out that Palestinians must also acknowledge Israel’s existence if they want to prosper.
Trying to win the Israeli lobby’s support, Gingrich promised to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to East Jerusalem (al-Quds) if he is elected.
"If I do become president, I will sign an executive order directing the State Department to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to send the signal we’re with Israel," Gingrich said.
During a debate five days before the pivotal Florida primary, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney also criticized the Palestinians, accusing them of rejecting a two-state solution.
"Israelis would be happy to have a two-state solution. It’s the Palestinians who don’t want a two-state solution; they want to eliminate the state of Israel," Romney said.
Voicing support for Israel, Romney further accused US President Barack Obama of distancing himself from Tel Aviv.
"This president threw Israel under the bus with regards to defining the ’67 borders as the starting point of negotiations. I think he disrespected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," he said.
In his Middle East policy speech in May 2011, President Obama called for the formation of an independent Palestinian state based on the lines before the 1967 Mideast war.
Netanyahu, however, snubbed Obama’s call for Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories to the 1967 borders.