Likud Accuses Lapid of Making Concessions to Abbas

By Yisrael Price

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on his way to the weekly cabinet meeting. (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)

YERUSHALAYIM – The remark downplaying the Holocaust made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Berlin on Tuesday continued to have repercussions in Israel, as a member of the coalition partner Meretz said it should not deter further negotiations with him.

Zehava Galon, the former Meretz party chief who is running to recapture the leadership, agreed that Abbas’s saying Israel has committed “50 holocausts” against Palestinians are “disgraceful and despicable.”

However, she says that “in the end it’s in Israel’s interest” to talk to him. “We can be offended and disgusted but we have security interests,” she told Walla news.

Her statement was similar to that of Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who said on Wednesday that he would continue to work with Abbas on security cooperation and economic issues. Gantz also strongly condemned the remarks, and reportedly pressured the PA head to issue a retraction, which he did.

But Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party charged that Prime Minister Yair Lapid is “advancing dangerous concessions to the Holocaust denier Abu Mazen,” using Abbas’s nom de guerre. The statement did not elaborate on the concessions.

“After years in which Likud took Abu Mazen off the global agenda, Lapid and [Defense Minister Benny] Gantz are bringing him back to center stage,” Likud said.

Repercussions continued in Germany, as well. Israel’s ambassador to Berlin, Ron Prosor, told The Media Line that German politicians are “furious with (Abbas) for exploiting the stage he got,” using a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to compare Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to the Nazi murders of six million Jews in the Holocaust.

“From what I see, I doubt Abu Mazen will be invited here again any time soon,” Prosor, a former envoy to the U.N. and one of Israel’s most senior diplomats, said.

“I don’t think the Germans ever saw such a response from all the political parties, from left to right, about something,” he said. 

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