BERLIN: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday voiced disgust at statements by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in Berlin on the Holocaust, amid a growing outcry in Germany and Israel, reports AFP.
At a joint press conference with Scholz on Tuesday, Abbas, 87, was asked if he would apologise on behalf of the Palestinian gunmen who carried out the Munich Olympics hostage-taking in 1972 that ended with 11 Israeli athletes and coaches killed.
I am disgusted by the outrageous remarks made by Palestinian President Mahmud #Abbas, Scholz wrote on Twitter. For us Germans in particular, any relativisation of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.
Scholz himself also drew fire for failing to immediately condemn Abbas' remarks at the press conference, which ended following the Palestinian leader's statements.
One would have liked (Scholz's) clarification to be more immediate, wrote Spiegel magazine.
Christoph Heubner, executive vice president of the International Auschwitz Committee said he found it astonishing and disconcerting that the German side was not prepared for Abbas' provocations, and that his statements on the Holocaust were left unchallenged at the press conference.
In comparison, Scholz had directly contradicted Abbas when he used the word apartheid while describing the treatment of Palestinians by Israel.
In Jerusalem, Abbas' remarks drew a hail of condemnation.
Mahmud Abbas accusing Israel of having committed '50 Holocausts' while standing on German soil is not only a moral disgrace, but a monstrous lie, wrote Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Twitter.
Six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, including one and a half million Jewish children. History will never forgive him.
Defence Minister Benny Gantz called the Palestinian leader's remarks as an attempt to distort and rewrite history.
Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan described Abbas' words as appalling.
He added that the German government must respond appropriately to this inexcusable behaviour done inside the Federal Chancellery.
Charlotte Knobloch, a Holocaust survivor and leader of the Jewish community of Munich and its region, said Abbas' statements must be met with more than a verbal rebuff from Scholz.
German politicians must know who their partners in the Palestinian Authority are and act accordingly. The clear words of the German chancellor afterwards should not be the only consequence.