Uproar in Israel, Germany over Palestinian President Abbas’s remarks

Published August 18, 2022
<p>German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attend a news conference, in Berlin on August 16. — Reuters</p>

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attend a news conference, in Berlin on August 16. — Reuters

BERLIN: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz voiced disgust on Wednesday at remarks by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the German leader said diminished the importance of the Holocaust, while Israel accused Abbas of telling a “monstrous lie”.

During a visit to Berlin on Tuesday, Abbas accused Israel of committing “50 Holocausts” in response to a question about the coming 50th anniversary of the attack on the Israeli team at the 1972 Munich Olympics by Palestinians.

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

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

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid called the comments a “disgrace”. Germany’s ZDF television reported that Scholz would speak to Lapid on Thursday to avoid lasting damage to ties. Since the Holocaust and World War Two, German politicians have stressed their special responsibility towards Israel.

“Mahmoud Abbas accusing Israel of having committed ‘50 Holocausts’ while standing on German soil is not only a moral disgrace, but a monstrous lie,” Lapid said on Twitter.

“History will never forgive him.”

In response to the outcry, Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement calling the killing of Jews in Germany during World War II “the most heinous crime in modern human history”.

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

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2022

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