Abbas backs away from comparing Israeli crimes to the Holocaust

Abbas backs away from comparing Israeli crimes to the Holocaust

Abbas backs away from comparing Israeli crimes to the Holocaust

After widespread European anger and demands that Israel stop communicating with him


Thursday – 20 Muharram 1444 AH – 18 August 2022 AD Issue No. [
15969]


Abbas and Schulz leave the podium after a press conference in Berlin (AFP)

Ramallah: Kifah Zubun

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas retracted his comparison of the Israeli crimes in the Palestinian territories to the Holocaust, and said in a statement issued on Wednesday that the Holocaust is the most heinous crime in modern human history.
In an attempt to absorb the unprecedented Israeli and European anger against him, Abbas added, after accusing Israel of committing Holocaust crimes against the Palestinians in a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, on Tuesday, “It was not intended in his answer to deny the specificity of the Holocaust, which was committed in the last century, He is condemned in the strongest terms.”
He stressed, “The crimes that are meant are the massacres committed against the Palestinian people since the Nakba at the hands of the Israeli forces, and these crimes have not stopped to this day.”
Abbas’s clarification came after an unprecedented attack on him in Israel and Germany in particular, and Israeli television channels said that Abbas’s clarification came after a phone call between Prime Minister Yair Lapid and the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Liberation Organization, Hussein al-Sheikh, who is close to the Palestinian president, in which he demanded an apology for statements. The channels reported that the call between Lapid and Sheikh was “difficult and tense.”
The Ynet news site said Abbas’ statement was published after “heavy pressure” from Israel, as the office of Defense Minister Benny Gantz conveyed strongly worded messages that the suspension was unacceptable and demanded that it be retracted.
Abbas put himself in trouble after he said in the press conference that “Israel has committed 50 massacres since 1947 until today,” adding, “50 massacres, 50 Holocausts.” His impromptu response to a journalist’s question if he would apologize to Israel on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the attack on the Israeli sports mission in the 1972 Munich Olympics, brought a storm of criticism in Israel, Germany, the European Union and America, as well as spoiled his visit to Germany and perhaps spoiled plans to bring support for full membership in the United Nations .
All Israeli officials embarked on the attack on Abbas. “Abbas’ accusing Israel of committing 50 Holocausts while standing on German soil is not only a moral disgrace, but a brutal lie,” Lapid wrote in a tweet. “History will not forgive him.”
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who used to meet Abbas regularly, said, “It is despicable and false and an attempt to distort and rewrite history.” The head of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum in Israel, Abbas’ words are “vile” and “appalling.”
Israeli anger reached the point of demanding that he stop talking to Abbas in any way.
Gantz was forced to defend his previous meetings with the Palestinian president. In the face of criticism from Israeli government ministers, he said that thanks to these meetings, there are “many civilians and soldiers whose lives have been saved.” “Those who want to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the complex security and political reality are not fit to lead the wheel,” he said in a sharp attack on his critics.
Gantz announced that he “intends to continue to act in the region in a responsible manner, especially with the Palestinians, for the sake of Israel’s security and without political considerations.”
Gantz was responding to Israeli officials’ criticism of him and their demand that he stop talking to Abbas, most notably Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who said, “Abbas should not be legalized, and certainly not to invite him to Rosh HaAyin,” referring to Gantz’s home where he met Abbas earlier, and Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who demanded that Gantz stop legitimizing Abbas and meet and talk with him.
Abbas was not spared European and American criticism as well. Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas, who also specializes in combating anti-Semitism, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that the statements are unacceptable and reinforce anti-Semitism, and have a devastating effect on democracy.
US Special Envoy for Anti-Semitism Deborah Lipstadt described Abbas’s words as “unacceptable” and wrote on Twitter: “Distortion of the Holocaust can have serious consequences and fuel anti-Semitism.” The International Committee of Auschwitz also strongly criticized Abbas’ accusations that Israel committed the Holocaust against the Palestinians, and also criticized what it called the “hesitant” reaction from the German side.
And Israeli media recalled a previous controversy raised by Abbas about the Holocaust, when he said in 2018 that “social behavior was the cause of the genocide of European Jews in Nazi Germany,” for which he later apologized.
Abbas is an expert on the Holocaust and submitted his doctoral thesis in 1982 entitled “The Other Side: The Secret Relationship between Nazism and Zionism,” a thesis that brought him a lot of criticism in Israel as well. Because they considered that he questioned the true number of Holocaust victims.


Germany

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict


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