New York – Huffington Post, Sam Stein reports, Newt Gingrich’s questioning of the “authenticity” of the Palestinian people and even whether they should be classified as a group has sparked a sharp debate within the Republican Party.
“Remember, there was no Palestine as a state – (it was) part of the Ottoman Empire,” Gingrich told the Jewish Channel last week. “I think we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs and historically part of the Arab community and they had the chance to go many places.”
Several of his fellow candidates for the GOP presidential nomination called his comments unnecessarily provocative and ultimately unhelpful to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace process. In foreign policy circles there has been no shortage of debate about the accuracy of the remarks and the former House Speaker’s consistency on the matter.
On Monday, a political operative who has been working on Palestine-Israel policy for the past 20 years sent The Huffington Post a picture of Gingrich, then the House minority whip, grasped the hand of longtime Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat immediately following the September 1993 Oslo peace accords.
VIN News, also found A 1998 Reuters photo where Gingrich met Arafta In Ramallah: see below