Mahmoud Abbas compares the treatment of Palestinians to the Holocaust | Middle East, the eternal conflict

Mahmoud Abbas compares the treatment of Palestinians to the Holocaust | Middle East, the eternal conflict

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was in Berlin for medical treatment.

Israel and Germany on Wednesday strongly denounced comments by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who compared Israeli policy toward the Palestinians to Jewish genocide while in Berlin by Nazi Germany.

The 87-year-old leader, in Germany for his medical follow-up, spoke on Tuesday in Berlin with Chancellor Olaf Scholz about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and bilateral cooperation.

Questioned at the end of a joint press conference on the bombing of the 1972 Munich Olympics, which killed 11 Israelis and was carried out by a Palestinian commando, Mr. Abbas said compared the situation in the Palestinian Territories occupied by Israel to the Holocaust.

“From 1947 to today, Israel has committed 50 massacres in 50 Palestinian cities […]. 50 massacres, 50 holocausts and, even today, there are deaths caused by the Israeli army every day.

— Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian President

Since then, he has been trying to clarify his words.

We want peace, we we want security, we want stability […], we must develop trust between us, he added in Berlin, also denouncing Israel's policy of apartheid.

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On Tuesday, Chancellor Scholz said that the word apartheid was not a correct description of the situation in the Palestinian territories, without however reacting to Mr. Abbas' comments on the Holocaust.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz during the joint press conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, August 16, 2022.

I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the German government tweeted on Wednesday morning, adding: For us Germans in particular, any relativization of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable.

Mr. Scholz himself was criticized, mainly by the conservative opposition and some media, for not reacting immediately to Mr. Abbas' statements during this press conference which ended directly after this response .

Abbas relativizes the Holocaust… and Scholz is silent, headlined the popular daily Bild on its website.

“It is surprising and disconcerting that the German side was unprepared for the provocations of Mr. Abbas, whose statements remained without contradiction. »

— Christoph Heubner, Vice President of the Auschwitz International Committee

Mr. Abbas regularly uses the terms genocide or apartheid, as do human rights NGOs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, to describe the occupation and colonization of the Palestinian Territories. But he rarely uses the words Shoah or Holocaust.

On Wednesday, Mr. Abbas's remarks – sometimes harsh in his statements against Israel, but often accused by Palestinians of collaborating with the Jewish state – sparked outrage in Israel.

“Mahmoud Abbas who accuses Israel of committing "50 holocausts" while he is on German soil is not only a moral disgrace, but a monstrous lie […]. History will never forgive him. »

—Yair Lapid, Prime Minister of Israel

Dani Dayan, the president of Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial, condemned despicable statements and inexcusable behavior to which the German government must respond appropriately.

Those who seek peace […] must not distort reality and rewrite history, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz commented. He accused Mr. Abbas, whom he had spoken to a few months ago, of Holocaust denial with this reprehensible and unfounded comparison.

Face To these strong reactions, President Abbas, who had thanked Germany for its support while calling on it to recognize the State of Palestine, said he wanted to clarify his position.

His statements were not intended to deny the uniqueness of the Holocaust, which remains the worst hate crime of the modern era, his office said.

The president did not deny the massacres suffered by Jews under Nazi Germany, but he told the world not to lose sight of the massacres inflicted on the Palestinian people , Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh added.

In Germany, Charlotte Knobloch, representative of the Munich Jewish community and official of the World Jewish Congress, demanded more than the verbal condemnation of Olaf Scholz. Berlin needs to inflict consequences on the Palestinian Authority, she said.

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