Since the start of the year, Israel has killed at least 90 Palestinians, including 17 minors, two elderly men and one woman.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has submitted a letter to the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemning an Israeli minister’s denial of Palestine’s existence, the bloc announced on Sunday.
In a statement, the six-member bloc said the letter condemned the statements of Israel’s Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich, in which he denied the existence of Palestinians and called for the destruction of the Palestinian village of Huwara.
In the letter, the GCC’s Secretary-General Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi praised the US’ rejection of the remarks while urging it “to assume its responsibilities in responding to all measures and statements that target the Palestinian people.”
“His Excellency the Secretary General indicated that the letter embodies the position of their Majesties and Highnesses, the leaders of the GCC countries regarding the Palestinian cause, as it is the first cause of Arabs and Muslims,” the statement read.
Albudaiwi also called on Washington “to fulfill its role in reaching a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the conflict based on the principles of international law and the Arab Peace Initiative.”
Last week during a speech in Paris, Smotrich said that Palestinians are “an invention,” while displaying a map of what he claimed to be Israel, that merged Jordan and Palestine.
“The Palestinian people is an invention that is less than 100 years old,” added Smotrich during a memorial for right-wing Israeli activist Jacques Kupfer.
Qatar joined global condemnations of Smotrich’s comments last week.
In its statement, Qatar’s foreign ministry stressed that Smotrich’s “extremist statements and flimsy allegations that contradict human values are denied by history that confirms the existence of the Palestinian people on this land since eternity.”
US National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby rejected Smotrich’s statements and warned of increasing tensions.
Washington, which pumps an annual $3.8 billion into Tel Aviv’s economy, has failed to condemn Israel for its ongoing crimes against Palestinians.
“We utterly object to that kind of language. And It’s extremely unhelpful – again – trying to de-escalate the tensions and trying to find a viable two-state solution going forward,” Kirby told Israeli Channel 13.
Previously, Smotrich said the Palestinian town of Huwara should be “wiped out”.
Following the global condemnation, Smotrich said that his comments were a “slip of the tongue,” according to Israeli media reports.
The Palestinian town has been under intensified attacks this year as part of the Israeli Occupation Forces’ (IOF) rising violence in the occupied West Bank.
Since the start of the year, the IOF has killed at least 90 Palestinians, including 17 minors, two elderly men and one woman.
In its statement, the GCC condemned Israel’s crimes in Jenin, Huwara, Burin, Asira Al Qibliya and others. It also denounced the demolitions of Palestinian properties and attacks in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound.
In late 2020, the GCC saw a wave of normalisation under which Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates officiated ties with Israel by signing the Abraham Accords.
Qatar has maintained its unwavering stance regarding normalisation with Israel and has repeatedly condemned all crimes committed against Palestinians.