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TOPIC: bezalel smotrich


"Palestinians Don't Exist" — The Israeli Minister's Shock Declaration That Can't Be Unsaid

In a speech in Paris, Bezalel Smotrich, Israel's finance minister, denied the existence of the Palestinians, sparking angry reactions in Ramallah, Amman and Brussels. But Israel's extreme right is not afraid of provoking a violent crisis with the Palestinians.


PARIS — Bezalel Smotrich would like to set fire to the Palestinian Territories. This is not the first time the Israeli Minister of Finance has made such an inflammatory statement. But what he said on Sunday evening in Paris has provoked a strong reaction.

The far-right leader, who lives in a West Bank settlement and is now a minister in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition, said what he was thinking: "The Palestinian people are an invention which is less than 100 years old. Do they have a history, a culture? No, they don't. There are no Palestinians. There are just Arabs."

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Israel And The West: The Crisis Is Real

Israel's judicial reforms by its far-right government have been met by widespread protests. Now the country risks breaking long-formed bonds with key allies in the West.


PARIS — Which country in the world has just refused to receive Josep Borrell, Europe's top diplomat? Which country has a finance minister who travels to the United States and France without making any contact with the governments of these two countries?

That country is Israel, which is not used to being a near pariah in the Western world. It is true that the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was received in Paris by French President Emmanuel Macron, and also in Rome by Italian Council President Giorgia Meloni, and is currently in Berlin to meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

But if Israel's head of state, with decades of personal relationships with both European and American leaders behind him, is received, it might not always be to have his government's choices praised.

At the heart of the problem lingers the political crisis that was triggered by the coalition that Netanyahu has built with the far right in Israel: the latter is carrying out a judicial reform deemed undemocratic by a large part of Israeli society. The protests that have been going on for weeks have a real international impact.

It is a sign of real unease when it did not even take three months to see such a deterioration in relations.

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Netanyahu's Extremist Blitz Is Reaching Its End Game

By challenging Israel's constitutional system and launching a crackdown on the Occupied Territories, Benjamin Netanyahu is playing a high-stakes game opposed by half his country and the country's allies. It can't last much longer.


In just two months, the most right-wing coalition in Israel's history has achieved a tour de force.

Perhaps because its days are numbered, it has begun a lightning-fast institutional transformation of the Jewish state in a sharply "illiberal" direction; it has taken steps to achieve the de facto annexation of part of the West Bank; it has blown hard on the burning embers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; it has divided Israel as rarely before; and finally, it has begun to alienate the support of its main diplomatic partners around the world.

Undoubtedly, this summary may seem excessive to those who observe Israel with the lasting indulgence of disappointed lovers; and insufficient to those who didn't need the return of Benjamin Netanyahu, along with his new friends, to have a strong opinion against Israeli government policy.

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