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Yair Netanyahu says Palestine does not exist because there is no 'P' in Arabic

Prime minister's son faces ridicule online as dubious academic theory gets torn to shreds on Twitter
Yair Netanyahu came under fire in March after he retweeted a tweet that Blue and White leader Benny Gantz was in a state of "mental collapse" (AFP)

Yair Netanyahu, the son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, attracted controversy once again on Tuesday by using a dubious academic theory to promote the claim that Palestine does not exist.

Taking to Twitter, the 27-year-old said "there is no such thing" as Palestine because the letter "P" does not appear in the Arabic alphabet.

His theory quickly attracted ridicule on social media, as users noted that the Arabic word for Palestine is "falasteen".

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Netanyahu's "logic" backfired on him in other ways, as commentators were quick to note that there was no letter in the Hebrew alphabet that had a "J" sound. 

Israeli-American pro-Palestine activist Miko Peled asked whether the lack of J in Hebrew meant there can be "no Jews, no Judea, and definitely no #Jerusalem".

Faced with ridicule, Netanyahu attempted to justify his claim online by tweeting again that the name "Palestine" was only used for the geographical area when the Romans crushed the Bar-Kokhba Jewish revolt in the second century AD as "punishment".

Zachary Foster, an academic at Princeton, however noted that the name "Palestine" had long been used for the land between the Jordan river and Mediterranean Sea before the Roman era.

The prime minister's son has a history of making explosive comments on social media.

Last year, he stoked diplomatic strife between Israel and Ankara by publishing an image on Instagram reading "Fuck Turkey".

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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