Gantz Defends Meetings with Abbas Amid Furor Over Holocaust Remark

By Hamodia Staff

Minister of Defense Benny Gantz on a tour of the IDF Southern Command. (Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM — In the fallout from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ outrageous accusation that Israel has committed “50 holocausts,” Defense Minister Gantz defended his series of meetings with the PA leader in recent months.

Gantz reiterated his belief that the meetings with Abbas were necessary to maintain security coordination between Israel and the PA.

Firing back at critics, he said that “it’s best if those who aren’t responsible for sending soldiers to battle and aren’t responsible for the lives of the citizens of Israel and the soldiers in the IDF, don’t lecture me about meetings that prevented and are preventing the next war, and are bringing stability out in the field and freedom and diplomatic freedom.”

“Thanks to the coordination by the lower ranks in the field, by the heads of the defense networks, and by myself, the lives of many soldiers and civilians were saved. Whoever wants to stick their heads in the sand and ignore the complex security and diplomatic reality, is not fit to rule and lead the state of Israel.”

Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu called on Prime Minister Yair Lapid to sever ties with Abbas.

“Stop flattering Holocaust denier Mahmoud Abbas. You are boycotting us in Likud, and you are flattering him?” Netanyahu asked.

But regarding the comments in Berlin on Tuesday, Gantz was unsparing, saying Abbas’s “words are despicable and false. I demanded that he retract them and it is good that he did so,” referring to a statement released by Abbas on the PA’s Wafa broadcaster affirming the “singularity” of the Holocaust, which described as “the most heinous crime in modern human history.”`

Prime Minister Yair Lapid also condemned the Abbas comment as “not only a moral disgrace, but a monstrous lie.” But he gave no indication that he would interfere with Gantz’s liason to the PA.

Meanwhile, retraction notwithstanding, Abbas got expressions of support from within the PA and elsewhere.

The ruling Fatah faction posted a photo of a smiling Abbas on social media with a caption reading, “Mr. President, you are strong…We are proud of you and we are all behind you.”

Munther al-Hayek, a senior Fatah official, said Abbas’s remarks in Germany were designed to “remind the world of the suffering of the Palestinian people, who deserve an apology for the crimes committed against them.”

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