If the Palestinians were “invented,” as Newt Gingrich said [“Gingrich: Palestinians an ‘invented’ people,” news story, Dec. 10], so, too, were the Saudi Arabians, Jordanians and Syrians. The country boundaries for these people were mostly invented by the British and French following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I.

Much of the current Middle East, in fact, is a fairly arbitrary creation of Western powers. This is partly why the West is so resented in the region. Capricious nonsense from presidential candidates does nothing to restore faith among any of our allies.

Gary Young, Austin

Newt Gingrich said, “There was no Palestine as a state. It was a part of the Ottoman Empire. We have invented the Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs.” Historically, Palestinians and Jews lived under the aegis of the Ottoman Empire, which succeeded Arab, Crusader, Arab, Maccabee, Roman, Greek, Persian, Babylonian, Hebrew, Canaanite, Hittite, Assyrian, Egyptian, Akkadian, Sumerian and other control of the land. How far back would Mr. Gingrich like to take us in the Arab-Israeli dispute?

Palestinians made up 95 percent of the indigenous population of Palestine — 450,000 Palestinians vs. 25,000 Jews — before international Zionism began to promote Jewish emigration to Palestine at the end of the 19th century. Historical facts are not inventions.

Ed Houry, Fairfax