The United States fired at back at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday, after he released a video equating the Palestinian Authority’s demand that a future Palestinian state be free of Jews to ethnic cleansing.
“[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 the video, 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 administration believed that using the term “ethnic cleansing” was “inappropriate and unhelpful.”
Trudeau, according to comments quoted by The Associated Press, said the administration is "engaging in direct conversations with the Israeli government" about the video.
"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. 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."
Meanwhile, 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."
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)