Palestinian leader: Mahmoud Abbas accuses Israel of “Holocaust” against Palestinians

The Palestinian leader has previously caused outrage with statements about the Holocaust. Now he directs drastic words against Israel.

Palestinian chief Mahmoud Abbas During his visit to Berlin, Israel accused the Palestinians of multiple “Holocausts”, thereby triggering outrage: “Since 1947 to the present day, Israel has committed 50 massacres in 50 Palestinian towns,” said Abbas on Tuesday at a joint press conference with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) in the Chancellery and added: “50 massacres, 50 holocausts.”

He had previously been asked by a journalist whether he was on the 50th anniversary of the assassination attempt by Palestinian terrorists on the Israeli Olympic team will apologize to Israel in Munich.

Abbas said that there were dead people killed by the Israeli army every day. “If we want to continue digging into the past, yes please.” At the Olympic assassination, in which eleven Israelis were killed was not included in the Palestinian President’s reply.

Mahmoud Abbas: “50 Massacres, 50 Holocausts”

Scholz followed the statements with a petrified expression, visibly annoyed and also made preparations to reply. His spokesman Steffen Hebestreit declared the press conference over immediately after Abbas’ reply. The question to the Palestinian President had previously been announced as the last. Hebestreit later reported that Scholz was outraged by Abbas’ statement. The Chancellor told the “Bild” newspaper in the evening: “Especially for us Germans, any relativization of the Holocaust is unbearable and unacceptable.”

CDU boss Friedrich Merz criticized Scholz’s handling of the incident on Twitter as “incredible”. The chancellor should have “clearly contradicted the Palestinian president and asked him to leave the house!” he wrote. The CDU politician Armin Laschet called Abbas’ performance “the worst lapse that was ever heard in the Chancellery”.

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Not the first controversial Holocaust statement

The Palestinian President was already there in 2018 Holocaust statements caused a stir in another context. At the time he said the Holocaust, the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis, was not triggered by anti-Semitism. Instead, the trigger was the social position of the Jews as lenders of loans with interest. Afterwards he apologized for the anti-Semitic statements. It was not his intention to offend anyone.

His doctoral thesis, which he submitted in the early 1980s, is also considered controversial. In it, Abbas relativized the Holocaust and accused the Zionist movement of having collaborated with the Hitler regime. In 2014, for the first time, he described the extermination of the Jews during the Holocaust as the “worst crime of modern times”.

Scholz criticizes apartheid allegations on the open stage

Scholz had previously criticized Abbas on the open stage for describing Israeli politics as an “apartheid system”. “I want to say explicitly at this point that I don’t adopt the word apartheid and that I don’t think that’s the right way to describe the situation,” said Scholz.

Abbas had previously said the “transformation into the new reality of a single state in an apartheid system” does not serve security and stability in the region. Apartheid is understood as the doctrine of separating individual ethnic population groups, primarily in South Africa until 1994. It is internationally recognized as a crime against humanity.

Abbas had repeatedly accused Israel of this – most recently during a visit by US President Joe Biden to the West Bank. However, he did not go into further detail at the joint press conference.

Also read: Holocaust Remembrance: The Future Doesn’t End

The former SPD boss Sigmar Gabriel caused outrage around ten years ago when he described conditions in the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank as “apartheid”. At the time he wrote on his Facebook page: “I was just in Hebron. This is a legal vacuum for Palestinians. This is an apartheid regime for which there is no justification.” He later rejected criticism of the statements and emphasized his solidarity with Israel.

In 1967, Israel conquered the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights in the Six-Day War. The UN classifies the areas as occupied. The Palestinians want them for their own state of Palestine – with East Jerusalem as the capital. The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians has been idle since 2014. (fmg/dpa)

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