Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, long known as a Holocaust denier, called the Holocaust “the most heinous crime” against humanity in modern times” on Sunday, an apparent bid to build bridges with Israel days after peace talks collapsed, and on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, while not referring directly to Abbas’s statement, accused him of forging a partnership with Holocaust deniers.
“Hamas denies the Holocaust while trying to create another Holocaust by destroying Israel,” Netanyahu said at the weekly meeting of his cabinet. “It is with this Hamas that Abbas chose to create an alliance last week.”
A spokesman said Netanyahu’s comments were not a direct response to Abbas’s statement but the Israeli leader was aware of
what the Palestinian president had said.
Abbas’s message was broadcast in both Arabic and English.
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), an Israeli monitoring group, says both Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah movement have engaged in Holocaust denial. On its website, PMW cites a Hamas documentary which it said alleged Jewish leaders planned the Holocaust to eliminate the “disabled and handicapped.”
Abbas authored The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism,” based on his doctoral dissertation where he questioned the number of Jewish Holocaust victims.