Germany and Israel condemn Palestinian president’s Holocaust comments


German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attend a news conference, in Berlin, Germany August 16, 2022. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

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  • Outrage against Abbas accuses Israel of committing ’50 holocausts’
  • German chancellor and Israeli prime minister lead condemnation
  • In response, Abbas calls the Holocaust ‘the most heinous crime’
  • Germany summons head of Palestinian mission to Berlin

BERLIN/JERUSALEM, Aug 17 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday expressed disgust over comments by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the German leader said downplayed the significance of the Holocaust, while Israel blamed Abbas of having uttered a “monstrous lie”.

During a visit to Berlin on Tuesday, Abbas accused Israel of committing ’50 holocausts’ in response to a question about the upcoming 50th anniversary of the attack on the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics by Palestinian militants .

“For us Germans in particular, any relativization of the uniqueness of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable,” Scholz tweeted on Wednesday. “I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.”

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Scholz’s office summoned the head of the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Berlin to protest Abbas’ remarks, a German government spokesman said. Read more

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called the remarks “shameful”.

“Mahmoud Abbas accusing Israel of committing ’50 holocausts’ while standing on German soil is not just moral disgrace, but a monstrous lie,” Lapid said on Twitter.

“History will never forgive him.”

In response to the outcry, Abbas issued a statement calling Nazi Germany’s Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were killed, “the most heinous crime in modern human history”.

He said his Tuesday remark was not intended to deny the uniqueness of the Holocaust but to highlight “the crimes and massacres committed against the Palestinian people since the Nakba at the hands of Israeli forces.”

Nakba, or catastrophe, is the term Palestinians use to describe the mass exodus of Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes in the 1948 war that accompanied the establishment of the State of Israel.

Germany’s Central Council of Jews expressed ‘horror’ at Abbas’ comments, which it says trampled on the memory of the 6 million Jews who died and tarnished that of all Holocaust victims .

Alongside Scholz, Abbas had referred to a series of historic incidents in which Palestinians were killed by Israelis during the 1948 war and the years following.

“From 1947 to the present, Israel has committed 50 massacres in Palestinian villages and towns, in Deir Yassin, Tantura, Kafr Qasim and many others, 50 massacres, 50 Holocausts,” Abbas said.

The official Palestinian Wafa news agency left out these Holocaust comments in its report on the meeting with Scholz, and the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said Lapid’s comments were intended to distract from “crimes of Israel.

Abbas’s remarks followed months of tension and a brief conflict this month in which 49 people were killed in Gaza after Israel carried out a series of airstrikes in response to what he called a imminent threat from the Islamic Jihad militant group, which fired 1,000 rockets in response.

Dozens of Palestinians have also been killed in clashes with Israeli security forces in the occupied West Bank, while there have been a number of attacks against Israelis. Read more

The Palestinians are seeking statehood in territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. Negotiations have been frozen since 2014.

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Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Editing by Mark Heinrich

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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