Palestinian President Abbas Apologizes For Holocaust Remarks

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The head of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) slammed Abbas and said, "All forms of anti-Semitism, including Holocaust denial and relativization [sic], are unacceptable".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel called Mr. Abbas a "Holocaust denier", and the speech prompted some liberal Israelis to rule Mr. Abbas out as a partner for peace.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday apologised for his speech this week that drew condemnation from Britain, France and the United States for apparently blaming European Jews for bringing the Holocaust on themselves.

And in a strongly worded editorial, calling the remarks "vile", the New York Times said it was time for Abbas to step down as Palestinian leader.

The UN's chief Mideast envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, said Abbas had repeated "some of the most contemptuous anti-Semitic slurs" that did not "serve the interests of the Palestinian people, or of peace in the Middle East".

The statement also notes that "the Holocaust was the most brutal crime in the history of mankind".

Council members were given until 4:00 p.m. (2000 GMT) to raise objections to the draft statement.

The most inflammatory portions of Abbas' initial speech were not included in the official Palestinian news agency's English press release about his address, the Times of Israel reported, and his speech elaborated on past Jewish conspiracy theories he has made publicly.

Prior to his apology Friday, his senior aide Saeb Erekat sought to claim his words had been distorted by Israel.

Israel's foreign ministry had on Wednesday accused him of fueling 'religious and nationalist hatred against the Jewish people and Israel'.

The statement said: 'If people were offended by my statement in front of the PNC, especially people of the Jewish faith, I apologise to them.

He said, "Their narrative about coming to this country because of their longing for Zion, or whatever - we're exhausted of hearing this".

In a lengthy section about history, he said that Jews living in Europe had suffered massacres "every 10 to 15 years in some country since the 11th century and until the Holocaust". "But why did this happen?" They say any peace talks with Israel would have to be brokered by impartial parties, something they do not believe the current leadership in Washington to be.

The Palestinian leader has a history of Holocaust denial. "He should start by making it clear that his revolting remark about the reasons for the Holocaust was a racist blood libel, and simply ask for forgiveness", he added. The dissertation reportedly claimed that the six million figure of Holocaust victims was hugely exaggerated and that Zionist leaders cooperated with the Nazis.

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