The Palestinian Authority on Thursday demanded an apology from Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi for saying Palestinians were “idiots” in seeking their own state alongside Israel.
Gadhafi made the remarks during a fiery speech at an Arab summit on Wednesday that ended by relaunching an offer to Israel of normal relations if it withdrew from all occupied Arab land and permitted a Palestinian state.
“I cannot recognize either the Palestinian state or the Israeli state. Don’t be angry, Abu Mazen, but the Palestinians are idiots and the Israelis are idiots,” Gadhafi said, addressing Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. “The solution I think is to have a single state. We cannot have two states.”
Gadhafi also asked why Palestinians hadn’t established a state between 1948 and 1967, when the West Bank was under Jordanian sovereignty and Gaza under Egyptian control.
Gadhafi shocked the Arab leaders by saying, “Terror is identified with Islam.” He dismissed the argument that poverty is at the root of violence by Islamists, and put the blame on “oppression, injustice, arrogance, insults, contempt and the humiliation of this [Arab] nation.”
A Palestinian official called on Gadhafi to keep his theories to himself.
“[We] have asked President Gadhafi to apologize to the Palestinian people for words … that offended the feelings of all Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims,” Tayeb Abdel Rahim, secretary general of the Fatah Central Committee, said in a statement.
“These remarks should not have been made by an Arab president at a summit conference and also contradicted the summit’s resolutions,” he said.
“We will not respond in the same way because we respect the brotherly Libyan people and we appreciate their traditional supportive position for the Palestinian people.”
Abdel Rahim called on Gadhafi to stop “exporting his theories to us. The Palestinian people have enough headaches and do not have enough aspirin.”
Abbas did not seem too fussed by Gadhafi’s speech, chuckling at parts of it.
Gadhafi also said Israelis were idiots because they declared a state but never showed any real interest in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Asked about the “idiot” reference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said: “It takes one to know one.”