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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
Photo: Getty Images
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Abbas walks back Holocaust remarks after pressure from Israel

PA president says Holocaust is 'the most heinous crime in modern human history,' and he had no intention to deny the genocide; clarification allegedly made after correspondence with Gantz and his office

Itamar Eichner, Liad Osmo |
Published: 08.17.22, 13:32
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday walked back his statements made earlier that Israel committed "50 Holocausts" in response to a question about the upcoming 50th anniversary of the attack on the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics.
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  • Abbas's remarks, made in Berlin during a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, drew strong condemnation by leaders across Israel's political spectrum.
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    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
    (Photo: Getty Images)
    "The Holocaust is the most heinous crime in modern human history.," he said in the written statement, adding he did not intend to deny "the singularity of the Holocaust that occurred in the last century, and condemning it in the strongest terms."
    According to the clarification statement, "the crimes Abbas spoke of were the massacres perpetrated against the Palestinian people since the destruction of Palestinian society and homeland in 1948, and the permanent displacement of a majority of the Palestinian Arabs by Israeli security forces."
    The clarification was published by Abbas himself, and not by his office - as is usually the case - and appeared in Palestinian Authority-run news outlets.
    The clarification was allegedly issued following heavy pressure from Israel. Ynet learned that Defense Minister Benny Gantz's office contacted Abbas, and made it clear that his statements were unacceptable - demanding him to renounce his words.
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    Benny Gantz and Mahmoud Abbas
    (Photo: Getty Images, Alex Kolomoisky)
    Gantz also received harsh criticism from his Knesset colleagues over frequently meeting with Abbas to discuss security concerns.
    In response, Gantz said: "Whoever does not send soldiers off to battle, and whoever does not show responsibility for the lives of Israeli citizens and IDF soldiers - better not criticize meetings that prevented, and continue to prevent, the next war and bring stability and freedom upon us.
    "Whoever wants to turn away and ignore the complicated security situation - is unfit to lead the State of Israel."
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