World Bulletin/News Desk
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday termed the Holocaust "the most heinous crime" in modern history, hours before Israel marks its annual Holocaust Remembrance Day.
"What happened to the Jews in the Holocaust is the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era," Abbas was quoted as telling U.S. rabbi Marc Schneier during a meeting last week in Ramallah.
According to the agency, the Palestinian leader expressed sympathy with the families of the victims and many other innocent people who were killed by the Nazi genocide.
"The Holocaust is a reflection of the concept of ethnic discrimination and racism which the Palestinians strongly reject and act against," Abbas was quoted as having told the American rabbi.
"The world must do its utmost to fight racism and injustice in order to bring justice and equality to oppressed people wherever they are.
"The Palestinian people, who suffer from injustice, oppression and denied freedom and peace, are the first to demand an end to the injustice and racism that befell other peoples subjected to such crimes."
The Palestinian leader also called on the Israeli government to "seize the opportunity" to bring about a just and comprehensive peace in the region, based on the two-state solution.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while not referring directly to Abbas's statement, accused the Palestinian leader of forging a partnership with Holocaust deniers.
"Hamas denies the Holocaust while trying to create another Holocaust by destroying Israel," Netanyahu said in public remarks at the weekly meeting of his cabinet. "It is with this Hamas that Abu Mazen chose to create an alliance last week."
A spokesman said Netanyahu's comments were not a direct response to Abbas's statement but the Israeli leader was aware of what the Palestinian president had said.
The United Nations acknowledges the Holocaust as an act of genocide.
Earlier this week, Netanyahu suspended U.S.- brokered peace talks with the PA – which approves a two-state solution between the perennial enemies – following the reconciliation deal, saying that Abbas should choose between peace with Israel or reconciliation with Hamas.
Last Mod: 27 Nisan 2014, 15:46