State Dept. on Netanyahu’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ charge about Palestinian state: ‘Unhelpful’ and ‘inappropriate’

by WorldTribune Staff, September 11, 2016

The U.S. State Department said it “strongly disagrees” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments equating the goal of Palestinians for a state with no Jews to “ethnic cleansing.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

“[T]he Palestinian leadership actually demands a Palestinian state with one pre-condition: No Jews. There’s a phrase for that: It’s called ethnic cleansing,” Netanyahu said in a video earlier this week which was released in Hebrew and English, as well as in a version with Arabic subtitles.

“And this demand is outrageous. It’s even more outrageous that the world doesn’t find this outrageous,” he added. “Ethnic cleansing for peace is absurd. It’s about time somebody said it.”

State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau later told reporters in Washington that the Obama administration believed that using the term “ethnic cleansing” was “inappropriate and unhelpful.”

“We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank,” Trudeau said. “We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful,” she told reporters, adding that Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria raises “real questions about Israel’s long-term intentions in the West Bank.”

Ahmed Majdalani, an adviser to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, dismissed Netanyahu’s remarks as “lies”.

“These are silly claims,” he said, according to AP. “It’s Netanyahu who conducts ethnic cleansing every day in Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories by announcing (new) settlement units… The settlements are an ongoing war.”