Germany and Israel strongly criticized, Wednesday, August 17, the comments of the president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who in Berlin compared Israel’s policy to the Palestinian territories occupied by the Holocaust.
The 87-year-old leader, in Germany for his medical follow-up, spoke on Tuesday with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, mainly about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and bilateral cooperation. Asked at the end of a joint press conference about the bombing of the 1972 Munich Olympics, which killed eleven Israelis and was carried out by a Palestinian commando, Mr. Abbas replied:
“From 1947 until now, Israel has committed fifty killings in fifty Palestinian towns, (…) fifty massacres, fifty burnings and even now, there are deaths caused of the Israeli army every day. »
“We want peace, we want security, we want stability, (…) we need to develop trust between us”added the president of the Palestinian Authority, who also criticized the policy “apartheid” in Israel.
On Tuesday, Mr. Scholz said that the term ” apartheid” not a “Correct description of the situation” in the Palestinian territories, which did not, however, react to Mr. Abbas’ remarks on the Holocaust. The last thing he did was on Wednesday. “I am outraged by the terrible words of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas”the head of the German government tweeted this morning, adding: “For us, especially Germans, any relativization of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. »
Abbas sought to make his position “clear”.
The German Chancellor himself was criticized, mainly by the conservative opposition and some media, for not immediately responding to the statements of Mr. Abbas during the press conference that ended directly after this response.
“Abbas relativizes the Holocaust … and Scholz is silent”headlined the popular daily PICTURE. “It is surprising and confusing that the German side is not prepared for the provocations of Mr. Abbas, whose statements remain without contradiction”commented Christoph Heubner, vice-president of the international Auschwitz committee.
Mr. Abbas uses the terms frequently “genocide” hope “apartheid”, as well as human rights NGOs Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, to describe the occupation and colonization of the Palestinian territories. But he rarely turns to words “Holocaust” hope “Holocaust”.
On Wednesday, Mr. Abbas’s remarks – sometimes containing strong statements against Israel but often accused by Palestinians of collaborating with the Jewish state – sparked outrage in Israel. “Mahmoud Abbas accusing Israel of committing “fifty arsons” while on German soil is not only a moral disgrace but a monstrous lie (…), history will never forgive him”condemned the Prime Minister of Israel, Yair Lapid. “Those who seek peace (…) must not distort the truth and rewrite history”commented Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
Dani Dayan, the president of Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, was condemned “horrific statements” and one “unforgivable behavior” where “The German government must respond properly”.
Faced with these reactions, the Palestinian leader said he wanted to “clear” his position. His statements “unintentionally denying the uniqueness of the Holocaust” who stayed on “worst hate crime of modern times”reported to his office. “The president did not deny the massacres suffered by the Jews under Nazi Germany, but he told the world not to forget the massacres inflicted on the Palestinian people”Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh added.