LONDON: The Gulf Cooperation Council said on Sunday it had written to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemning controversial comments made by Israel’s finance minister in which he denied the existence of a Palestinian people.
Secretary General Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi said that the foreign ministers of the GCC had sent the joint letter, which embodied the position of the leaders of the GCC countries regarding the Palestinian cause, Saudi Press Agency reported.
In the letter, the GCC called on Washington “to assume its responsibilities in responding to all measures and statements that target the Palestinian people,” and also called on the US “to play its role in reaching a just, comprehensive and lasting solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He added that the letter praised the American position which rejected the statements made by Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.
Albudaiwi said the 155th session of the GCC Ministerial Council, which was held on March 22 and met in Riyadh, stressed the GCC's support for the sovereignty of the Palestinian people over all Palestinian lands occupied since June 1967, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, that guarantees all the legitimate rights of the brotherly Palestinian people, and rejects settlements in the occupied Palestinian lands.
The US State Department said they had found Smotrich’s comments “to not only be inaccurate but also deeply concerning and dangerous.”
Smotrich is part of veteran Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right government that took office in December.
* With AFP