The candidates at the ABC debate were asked about Newt Gingrich’s recent comments that the Palestinians are an “invented” people. Gingrich was asked about the response from Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat’s, who is a associated with the Palestinian Fatah movement, saying that Gingrich’s comments would be used as rhetorical ammunition by Hamas and al-Qaeda.
“How would he know the difference?” Gingrich said dismissively. “Is what I said factually correct? Yes. Is it historically true? Yes.” He then denounced the idea of Israel being urged into peace talks with Palestinian groups that fire rockets at Israel.
He also alleged that “The Palestinians claim to a right of return is based on a historically false story,” and also said that “‘Palestinian’ did not become a common term until after 1977.”
The Palestine Liberation Organization was in fact founded in 1964, capping off years of Palestinian cultural development from both before and after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.