Palestinians: World leaders chose wrong site to mark Holocaust ceremony

Protesters denounce Putin’s visit to Bethlehem.

Jerusalem, from the balcony of Hebrew University Mount Scopus campus (photo credit: TAMAR BEERI)
Jerusalem, from the balcony of Hebrew University Mount Scopus campus
(photo credit: TAMAR BEERI)
Palestinians demonstrated in the Gaza Strip on Thursday to protest the visit of world leaders to Jerusalem to attend the Fifth World Holocaust Forum.
During the demonstration, which took place outside the offices of the United Nations in Gaza City, the protesters said the world leaders “chose the wrong site” to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.
Another demonstration, organized by Hizb ut-Tahrir, a pan-Islamist organization seeking to reestablish the Islamic Caliphate, condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s planned visit to Bethlehem. The protesters carried placards denouncing Putin as a “murderer” and “criminal” and accusing the Russian Army of committing “massacres” against the Syrian people.
Earlier, Hizb ut-Tahrir said the Palestinian Authority banned Palestinians from holding a similar protest in Ramallah against Putin. Despite the ban, dozens of Palestinians took to the streets of Ramallah Wednesday afternoon to protest against Putin.
“The Palestinian Authority wants to prevent Palestinians from raising their voices in the face of the murderer Putin,” the organization said.
Mahmoud Khalaf, a representative of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), said during the protest in front of the UN offices in Gaza City that the participation of world leaders in the ceremony in Jerusalem was aimed at “misleading the world and future generations and supporting [Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu in his election campaign.”
Khalaf read a letter the protesters sent to the UN secretary-general concerning the Holocaust ceremony. “The genocide camp is not here, and Jerusalem did not witness a war against Semitism,” the letter said. “Rather, Jerusalem was the cradle of the prophets, and the occupation is the one that is waging destructive wars against the Palestinian people.”
Khalaf expressed hope that the world leaders participating in the ceremony would remember the Palestinian people’s cause and rights. He also urged the UN secretary-general to put pressure on Israel “to end the blockade on the Gaza Strip.”
Khaled al-Batsh, a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) official in the Gaza Strip, also criticized the world leaders for participating in the Holocaust ceremony in Jerusalem.
“Occupied Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian people, and it’s not Auschwitz,” he said. “The leaders of the civilized world are falsifying history, backing the Judaization of Jerusalem and helping Israel in its attempt to escape international justice.”
Batsh accused the world leaders of “political hypocrisy and double standards and called on them to work toward “lifting the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.”
In a separate statement, PIJ said the participation of world leaders in the Holocaust ceremony “reflects the extent of global hypocrisy.”
The world leaders, the statement added, “are meeting in an occupied city at the invitation of the occupier and criminal. This occupation forum held in occupied Jerusalem is an attempt to obscure the crimes that the occupation government and its terrorist army are committing against our people. But the forum will never succeed in obliterating the truth and falsifying the narrative. The Palestinian people won’t surrender to the policies of the occupation, and will continue to resist Israeli terrorism with determination and steadfastness.”
The Palestinian Muslim Scholar Association, a group consisting of extremist Muslim clerics, said in response to the World Holocaust Forum that the Palestinians were “paying the price for the Holocaust.”