Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu linked Holocaust Remembrance Day with Fatah's recent reconciliation with Hamas, saying at Sunday's cabinet meeting that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has formed an alliance with a Holocaust-denying terrorist organization that wants to kill more Jews.
"Hamas denies the Holocaust while trying to bring about a new Holocaust through the destruction of the State of Israel," Netanyahu said at the opening of the weekly cabinet meeting.
"It is with this Hamas that Abu Mazen [Abbas] chose to form an alliance last week," he said. "Instead of issuing statements designed to placate global public opinion, Abu Mazen needs to choose between the alliance with Hamas, a terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel and denies the Holocaust, and a true peace with Israel. We hope that he will disavow this alliance with Hamas and return to the path of true peace."
The prime minister said that the difference between the situation facing the Jews today and during the Holocaust is that today the Jews have a sovereign state with a strong army that can defend the country from those, like Iran and Hamas, who want to destroy it.
Netanyahu's comment came shortly after Abbas's office issued a statement the PA president made last Sunday to a visiting US rabbi about the Holocaust, calling the Holocaust "the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era."
According to the statement, Abbas – in his conversation with Rabbi Marc Schneier, head of a New York based organization fostering relations between Moslems and Jews – expressed "his sympathy with the families of the victims and many other innocent people who were killed by the Nazis."
According to the statement, Abbas – who in 1984 published a book called The Other Side: the Secret relationship Between Nazism and Zionism that questioned the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust, as well as how they died – "expressed his sympathy with the families of the victims and many other innocent people who were killed by the Nazis."
Abbas's book was based on his 1982 doctorial dissertation at a Russian university entitled, Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement 1933 - 1945.
Abbas told Schneier the Holocaust is a "reflection of the concept of ethnic discrimination and racism which the Palestinians strongly reject and act against."
The world, he said, "must do its utmost to fight racism and injustice in order to bring justice and equality to oppressed people wherever they are. The Palestinian people, who suffer from injustice, oppression and denied freedom and peace, are the first to demand to lift the injustice and racism that befell other peoples subjected to such crimes."
Netanyahu, asked directly about Abbas' comments on the Holocaust during a CNN interview, chalked them up to "damage control."
"I think what President Abbas is trying to do is to placate Western public opinion that understands that he delivered a terrible blow to the peace process by embracing these Hamas terrorists," he said. "And I think he's trying to wiggle his way out of it."
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