Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has sparked anger after accusing Israel of committing “50 Holocausts” – with Germany’s leader saying he’s “disgusted” by the remark.
Mr Abbas made the comments in Berlin on Tuesday when asked about the upcoming 50th anniversary of the attack on the Israeli team by Palestinian militants at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Standing alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, he said: “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.”
“I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.”
Six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust, and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Mr Mahmoud’s remarks were a “moral disgrace” and a “monstrous lie”.
“History will never forgive him,” he tweeted.
The head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, Dr Josef Schuster, condemned the comments in the “strongest possible terms”.
“That a relativization of the Holocaust, especially in Germany, at a press conference in the Federal Chancellery, goes unchallenged, I consider scandalous,” he said in a statement.
Mr Abbas’s comment referenced incidents in which Palestinians were killed in the 1948 war that followed Israel’s foundation, and incidents in the years after.
In a statement responding to the outcry, he called the Holocaust “the most heinous crime in modern human history” and said his comment was purely intended to highlight “the crimes and massacres committed against the Palestinian people”.
The Palestinian foreign ministry also defended the comments and accused Israel of not tolerating anything that reminds people of the country’s “many crimes”.
Mr Abbas’s comments follow a flare-up in the long-running conflict this month in which authorities say 49 people, including women, children and militants, were killed following Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. Another 300 were injured.
Israel said it carried out the offensive in response to what it said was an imminent threat from the Islamic Jihad group, which fired over 1,000 rockets in response and forced thousands of Israelis to seek cover in shelters.
A day after a ceasefire, Israeli troops killed three Palestinian militants and wounded dozens during an arrest raid in the West Bank city of Nablus.
Then, last Sunday, a gunman wounded eight people at a bus stop in Jerusalem’s Old City.