“Israel has committed 50 holocausts”: outcry after Mahmoud Abbas’ remarks in Berlin

“Israel has committed 50 holocausts”: outcry after Mahmoud Abbas’ remarks in Berlin

Huge discomfort after the remarks of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which on Tuesday in Germany compared Israeli policy towards the Palestinians to the Jewish genocide by Nazi Germany. Attracting the wrath of Israel and 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. Asked at the end of a joint press conference on the attack on the 1972 Munich Olympics, fatal to 11 Israelis and perpetrated by a Palestinian commando, Mahmoud Abbas 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,” he said. -he declares.

Since then, he has been trying to clarify his remarks. “We want peace, we want security, we want stability (…) we must develop a trust between us he added in Berlin, also denouncing Israel’s “apartheid” policy.

On Tuesday, Chancellor Scholz said the word “apartheid” was not a “correct description of the situation” in the Palestinian Territories, but did not respond to Abbas’ comments on the Holocaust. “I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas,” the German Prime Minister tweeted on Wednesday morning, adding: “For us Germans in particular, any relativization of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. »

Olaf Scholz was himself criticized, mainly by the conservative opposition and certain media, for not having reacted immediately to the declarations of Mahmoud Abbas 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 not prepared for the provocations of Mr. Abbas, whose statements remained without contradiction”, commented Christoph Heubner, vice-president of the international committee of Auschwitz.

“Monstrous Lies”

Mahmoud Abbas regularly uses the terms “genocide” or “apartheid”, as do the 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, the remarks of Mahmoud Abbas – sometimes with strong statements against Israel but often accused by Palestinians of collaborating with the Jewish state – aroused great indignation in Israel.

“Mahmoud Abbas who accuses Israel of having committed 50+ holocausts while he is on German soil is not only a moral disgrace but a monstrous lie (…) History will never forgive him”, condemned the Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid. 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,” commented Defense Minister Benny Gantz. He accused Mr. Abbas, with whom he had spoken a few months ago, of “Holocaust denial” with this “reprehensible and unfounded comparison”.

Abbas clarification

Faced with 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 “did not intend 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 that Jews suffered 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 must inflict “consequences” on the Palestinian Authority, she said.

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