Secretary of State Hillary Clinton briefly weighed into domestic politics today and called Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's characterization of the Palestinians as "invented" people unhelpful.
In an interview last week with the Jewish Channel, Gingrich said, "I think that we've had an invented Palestinian people, who are, in fact, Arabs, and were historically part of the Arab community. And they had a chance to go many places. And for a variety of political reasons, we have sustained this war against Israel now since the 1940s, and I think it’s tragic."
Gingrich's remarks are at odds with the majority of the international community, including current U.S. and Israeli policy which both support a two-state solution with a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace with Israel. The Arab League has also condemned Gingrich's comments calling them "racist," "irresponsible," and "dangerous" in a statement.
In an interview, PBS's Jim Lehrer asked Clinton if Gingrich's comment was helpful she said, "No, no and I think he recognized that from what I read." Clinton called it, "one of those innovated moments that happens in politics."
Yet, when asked to elaborate on his comments in a debate Saturday, Gingrich did not back down, "Is what I said factually correct? Yes, Is it historically true?" He added, "Somebody ought to have the courage to tell the truth. These people are terrorists. They teach terrorism in their schools," Gingrich went on say after being posed the question by ABC's George Stephanopoulos.