On Sunday, Mahmoud Abbas the Palestinian President said the Holocaust had been the most heinous crime in modern history. He expressed his sympathy for all victims, a rare acknowledgement from a leader in the Arab world, of Jewish suffering during the genocide carried out by the Nazis.
The comments from the Palestinian leader appeared aimed as a way to reach out to the public opinion in Israel at time when the peace efforts between the Palestinians and Israel are in a deep crisis mode.
The remarks by Abbas were published by WAFA the official news agency of the Palestinians only hours prior to the starting of the annual Holocaust commemoration by Israel.
The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has gone on for decades due to a mutual distrust on both sides.
Many Israelis are in fear that Palestinians are still not yet ready to fully accept the presence of the Jews in the Holy Land and the denial or ignorance of the Holocaust amongst the Palestinians is an example of that attitude.
Denials or the attempt to minimize the horrific Holocaust, which saw 6 million Jews systematically killed by Nazi Germany during World War II, are wide ranging throughout the entire Arab World.
Many of the Palestinians fear if they were to acknowledge the Holocaust, they would diminish their claims based on decades of suffering, including the 1948 uprooting during the creation of Israel and decades of Israeli occupation.
The office of Abbas said the Palestinian President had talked about the Holocaust with Marc Schneier a Rabbi from the U.S. who visited the headquarters of Abbas last week in Ramallah.
Abbas said to Schneier that what the Jews were put through during the Holocaust was modern history’s most heinous crime.
The WAFA news agency quoted Abbas as extending his sympathy with all of the families the Holocaust victims and many others who were killed.
Abbas call the Holocaust an expression of ethnic racism and discrimination, while connecting it to the suffering the Palestinians face today.
Abbas’ statement said that the Palestinian’s who are suffering from injustice and oppression while being denied peace and freedom want the racism and injustices in life that befell others not subjected to such types of crimes.