Abbas apologises for anti-Semitic comment after global outrage

Abbas apologises for anti-Semitic comment after global outrage
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas apologised after saying Jews provoked the Holocaust through their socioeconomic status in Europe earlier this week.
2 min read
04 May, 2018
The majority of Palestinians want Mahmoud Abbas to step down, according to a poll [Getty]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas apologised for anti-Semitic comments he made earlier this week which caused outrage among Palestinians and across the world.

“If people were offended by my statement in front of the PNC, especially people of the Jewish faith, I apologise to them,” Abbas, whose term of office expired in 2009, said in a statement.

“I would like to assure everyone that it was not my intention to do so, and to reiterate my full respect for the Jewish faith, as well as other monotheistic faiths.”

During his lengthy speech in a Palestinian National Council (PNA) meeting, the Palestinian leader sparked fury as he claimed that the economic status of Jews in Europe in the 20th century provoked the Holocaust.

“From the 11th century up until the Holocaust that took place in Germany, Jews who moved to Western and Eastern Europe, were subjected to a massacre every 10 to 15 years. But why did this happen? They claim it is because they are purely Jewish,” the 82-year-old politician said in a statement carried by Palestinian Authority's official news ageny Wafa.

The PNC meeting was boycotted by Islamist Hamas and the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the main two political factions opposed to the Palestinian Authority (PA).

“I would also like to reiterate our long held condemnation of the Holocaust, as the most heinous crime in history, and express our sympathy with its victims,” he said after the thrust of outrage was based on his Holocaust commentary.

“Likewise, we condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms, and confirm our commitment to the two-state solution, and to live side by side in peace and security.”

Abbas' comments sparked global outrage and caused Palestinians to shed further light on their view of him being unfit for their country's leadership:

A majority of Palestinians want Abbas to resign while over half of the Palestinian public fear publicly criticising the Palestinian Authority, a poll conducted late last year found.

The survey was carried out across the West Bank and Gaza Strip from September 14 to 16 by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR).

Sixty-seven percent of Palestinians demand Abbas' resignation, according to the poll, with the figure standing at 80 percent in the Gaza Strip.