‘There is No such thing’ as Palestinian people’:Top Israeli minister

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TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) A firebrand Israeli minister claimed there’s “no such thing” as a Palestinian people as Israel’s new coalition government, its most hard-line ever, plowed ahead on Monday with a part of its plan to overhaul the judiciary.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition said it was pushing a key part of the overhaul which would give the coalition control over who becomes a justice or a judge before the parliament takes a monthlong holiday break next week.

The development came a day after an Israeli and Palestinian delegation at a meeting in Egypt, mediated by Egyptian, Jordanian and U.S. officials, pledged to take steps to lower tensions roiling the region ahead of a sensitive holiday season.

It reflected the limited influence the Biden administration appears to have over Israel’s new far-right government and raised questions about attempts to lower tensions, both inside Israel and with the Palestinians, ahead of a sensitive holiday season.

As the negotiators were issuing a joint communique, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich delivered a speech in Paris saying the notion of a Palestinian people was artificial. “There is no such thing as a Palestinian state. There is no Palestinian history. There is no Palestinian language,” he said in France late Sunday. I spoke from a lectern covered with what looked like

During talks in Egypt on Sunday, Palestinian gunmen launched another shooting attack in Hawara, in which an Israeli man was seriously injured. The renewed violence, along with Smotrich’s comments, highlighted the difficult challenges ahead after a year of deadly violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as tensions eased. More than 200 Palestinians were killed in Israeli fires in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and more than 40 Israelis or foreigners were killed in Palestinian attacks during this period.

Sunday’s summit took place ahead of Ramadan, the Islamic fasting month that begins this week. The Jewish Passover is said to occur in his April, coinciding with Ramadan.

Netanyahu’s government says the plan seeks to correct an imbalance that has given the courts too much power in the legislative process. Critics say an overhaul would upend the country’s delicate system of checks and balances and push Israel toward authoritarianism. I say it’s possible.

Increased protests and violence against Palestinians pose a major challenge to the new government. According to an Associated Press tally, 85 Palestinians have been killed so far this year.

The number of Israelis killed in the same period rose to 15 on Monday after Israeli media reported that Or Eshkar, 33, had died. He was shot at point-blank range in the head by Palestinians in Tel Aviv on March 9.

Israel says most of the Palestinians killed were militants. However, young people throwing stones in protest at the violence and people who were not involved in the clashes were also killed.

Israel conquered the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East War. Palestinians want these areas for a future independent state.