Hamas minister condemns Shoah denial

Bassem Naeem writes op-ed admitting that Holocaust occurred; decries its "Zionist exploitation."

denial conference 224 (photo credit: AP [file])
denial conference 224
(photo credit: AP [file])
"The Holocaust was not only a crime against humanity but one of the most abhorrent crimes in modern history," according to a senior Gaza-based Hamas official. The London-based Guardian published an op-ed on Monday written by Dr. Bassem Naeem, Hamas's minister of health and information in the Gaza Strip. Naeem addressed several topics in his piece, including Holocaust denial by Palestinian media, the alleged exploitation of the Holocaust by Israel and what he described as continued "occupation and oppression" of Palestinians. The Hamas minister, referring to a recent broadcast on the Gaza-based Al-Aksa channel that claimed the Holocaust was a 'joke' put on by prime minister David Ben-Gurion - wrote that the network "is an independent media institution that often does not express the views of... the Hamas movement" and that "in the case of [this] opinion it is alone and is solely responsible for it. "But it should be made clear that neither Hamas nor the Palestinian government in Gaza denies the Nazi Holocaust," his op-ed continued. "The Holocaust was not only a crime against humanity but one of the most abhorrent crimes in modern history. We condemn it as we condemn every abuse of humanity and all forms of discrimination on the basis of religion, race, gender or nationality." Naeem then went on to write that while he "unreservedly condemns the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis against the Jews of Europe, [he] categorically rejects the exploitation of the Holocaust by the Zionists to justify their crimes... of ethnic cleansing and subjection they have been waging against us." He further stated that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not a "religious" one between Muslims and Jews in Palestine or anywhere else, but rather that it was "of a purely political nature - it is between a people who have come under occupation and an oppressive occupying power. Palestinians had nothing to do with the Holocaust but find themselves punished for someone else's crime. But we are well aware and warmly welcome the outspoken support for Palestinian rights by Israeli and Jewish human rights activists in Palestine and around the world."