Steven Sahiounie, journalist and political commentator
Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich gave a hate speech in Paris that may have begun the destruction of Israel. “There are no Palestinians because there isn’t a Palestinian people,” he said on March 19. He also displayed a map of “Greater Israel” which included Syria and Jordan.
Smotrich was born in 1980 in the Golan Heights in Syria but holds Israeli citizenship. His grandfather Yaakov Smotrich immigrated from Ukraine to Palestine before WW2, and Yaakov’s wife Bruria came to Palestine from Europe. Smotrich is a European Jew. The country he lives in today is called Israel since 1948, but it was never called Israel before, except during the 100 years of a Jewish kingdom that began with King David more than 2,000 years ago.
Golda Meir was the first Israeli leader to make a similar statement. In an interview in 1969 with Frank Giles, Meir said, “There was no such thing as Palestinians.”
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan condemned Smotrich’s statement as racist, and Amman summoned the Israeli ambassador for a rebuke.
Jordan is populated by a majority of people who are Palestinians, and that includes Queen Rania, the wife of King Abdullah. Before, and since the 1948 establishment of Jordan, many Palestinians had been forcefully deported to the desert in Jordan by the Israeli forces, and others left for Jordan because of having lost their homes, businesses, and farms and arrived in Jordan as refugees.
The Israel–Jordan peace treaty was signed in 1994, which followed the earlier Israel-Egypt peace accord signed at Camp David, in the US. Both of these historic and long-lasting treaties were brokered by American presidents. However, the treaty with Jordan is now seeing a fraying around the edges, as the Israeli official has directly stated most of the people of Jordan don’t exist, and the map Smotrich displays calls for the annexation of Jordan.
Ariel Sharon, Israeli Prime minister from 2001-2006, said he did not fear the destruction of Israel at the hands of the Arabs, but he feared a time when the US would turn against Israel, and that would mark its downfall. For decades, the US foreign policy in the Middle East has been written in Tel Aviv, and many have complained that Israel dictates policy to the US.
Now, with the first ultra-extremist government in Israel, the US public and governmental opinion may turn against the genocidal and Apartheid regime in Israel. That was the fear Sharon: that Israel will destroy itself through its actions, by cutting off the support of the Americans, which reaches farther than the $4 billion in yearly aid, and props up the Israeli regime’s existence.
Farhan Haq, a deputy spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said Smotrich’s remarks were “completely unhelpful”, stressing the Palestinian people “obviously” exist. “We continue to support their rights and to push for a two-state solution,” Haq said.
FamilySearch.Org is a free website that has international records of birth, marriages, deaths, and residence.
In the US census dated 1900, there is Joseph Yabour who was born in March 1874 in Palestine. He stated he immigrated to the US in 1886, and both his parents were also born in Palestine. He was serving in the US Army in 1900. From his name I can confirm he was a Palestinian Christian.
In the US census dated 1920, there is Mohamed Mustafa who was born in 1894 in Palestine. He stated he immigrated to the US in 1913 and was then living in Michigan. Both his parents were born in Palestine and from his name, he is a Muslim. In the 1930 census, he is shown living in Nebraska along with five other men all born in Palestine.
In a New York Times article dated July 18, 1922. Section S, and page 20, an article appears concerning a man who owns hotels in Palestine, coming to Columbia University to visit his son, and his immigration “visitor visa” states “admit hotel man from Palestine”. From the name of the hotel owner, he is Jewish.
Combing historical records, we can see that the United States of America recognized there was a place called Palestine, and the people were Palestinians, who were Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
Smotrich is trying to rewrite history to fit his genocidal mindset. He does not support the UN resolution to create a two-state solution for both Jews and Palestinians. He also does not support a one-state solution that would see all people regardless of ethnicity or religion living together in freedom and with human rights, similar to America.
Smotrich wants it all. He wants all of Palestine, Israel and Jordan, and parts of Syria just for the exclusive home of the Jews. He favors increased settlements so that the Palestinians will eventually be homeless and landless. His vision of Israel is based on a religious ideology cloaked in politics: Zionism.
ISIS followed Radical Islam, which is the other side of the Zionism coin. Both started with religion and perverted it into a political ideology of hate, death, and destruction.
In March 2022, Michael Lynk, the UN Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, stated that Israel is an apartheid state. Israel, he said, conforms to the definition as a “political regime which so intentionally and prioritizes fundamental political, legal and social rights to one group over another, within the same geographic unit based on one’s racial-national-ethnic identity”.
The American public and the Israeli public both need to decide if officials like Smotrich deserve support. With Israel labeled as an apartheid state, and promoting the annexation of Jordan, the American public and elected officials must decide when to stop funding Israel, and let them face the consequences of their actions and policies.
Israeli voters live in a democracy and must accept the responsibility of placing their government in the hands of extremists who advocate policies that can destroy Israel.
Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist