On Wednesday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz expressed his displeasure with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ words, which he believed downplayed the significance of the Holocaust, while Israel accused Abbas of committing a “monstrous lie”.
During a visit to Berlin on Tuesday, Abbas accused Israel of committing “50 Holocausts” in answer to a question about the forthcoming 50th anniversary of the Palestinian militants’ attack on the Israeli team at the Munich Olympics.
“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.”
According to a German government official, Scholz’s office called the head of the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Berlin to dispute Abbas’ remarks.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid described the remarks as a “disgrace”
“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 tweeted.
“History will never forgive him.”
In reaction to the outrage, Abbas made a statement declaring Nazi Germany’s Holocaust, which killed 6 million Jews, “the most heinous crime in modern human history”.
He stated on Tuesday that his remark was not intended to dispute the uniqueness of the Holocaust, but rather to underline “the crimes and massacres committed against the Palestinian people since the Nakba at the hands of Israeli forces”.
The Palestinian word for the enormous migration of Palestinians who left or were ejected from their homes during the 1948 conflict that accompanied the establishment of the state of Israel is the Nakba, or catastrophe.
The Central Council of Jews in Germany condemned Abbas’ remarks, saying they trampled on the remembrance of the 6 million Jews who died and soiled the memory of all Holocaust victims.
Standing next to Scholz, Abbas spoke to a number of historical episodes in which Palestinians were slain by Israelis during the 1948 war and the years that followed.
“From 1947 to the present day, Israel has committed 50 massacres in Palestinian villages and cities, in Deir Yassin, Tantura, Kafr Qasim and many others, 50 massacres, 50 Holocausts,” Abbas added.
In its coverage on the meeting with Scholz, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa left out his Holocaust comments, and the Palestinian foreign ministry said Lapid’s comments were intended to divert attention away from Israel’s “crimes”.
Abbas’ words came after months of tension and a brief battle this month in which 49 people were murdered in Gaza when Israel launched a series of air raids in response to what it said was an impending threat from the terrorist Islamic Jihad organization, which responded with over 1,000 rockets.
Dozens of Palestinians have also been slain in clashes with Israeli security forces in the occupied West Bank, while a handful of Israelis have been attacked.
Palestinians desire independence in lands seized by Israel during the 1967 Middle East war. Since 2014, negotiations have remained stalled.