(JTA) — Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas peddled falsehoods about the Holocaust and other discredited distortions about Jews, drawing diplomatic fire just as the Biden administration is launching a major diplomatic initiative that could include reviving Israeli-Palestinian talks.
In a speech broadcast last month to a body of his Fatah Party, which controls the Palestinian Authority, Abbas, 87, said that Adolf Hitler and antisemites before him hated and persecuted the Jews not because of who they were but because of “their role in society” having to do with “usury, money, and so on and so on.”
The speech drew fire from German, U.S. and Israeli diplomats. “We strongly condemn President’s Abbas statements at the Fatah Revolutionary Council on Jews and the Holocaust,” the German mission to Ramallah said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. “History is clear: millions of lives were erased- this cannot be relativized. We strive to promote a dignified and accurate memory of the victims.”
Gilad Erdan, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, wrote on X, “The world must wake up and hold Abbas and his Palestinian Authority accountable for the hatred they spew and the ensuing bloodshed it causes.”
Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, the Biden administration’s antisemitism monitor, said in a statement that she was “appalled by President Abbas’ hateful, antisemitic remarks at a recent Fatah meeting. The speech maligned the Jewish people, distorted the Holocaust, and misrepresented the tragic exodus of Jews from Arab countries. I condemn these statements and urge an immediate apology.”
The revelation of Abbas’ speech comes just as the Biden administration is set to push for normalized relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, a complex package that may include reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which have been stalled for almost a decade. The plan is key to President Joe Biden’s hopes to marginalize Iran in the region, a goal that has risen in prominence as Iran has aided Russia in its invasion of Ukraine. Helping Ukraine push back Russia is the administration’s overarching foreign policy objective.
In his speech, Abbas also peddled a discredited myth and distorted or erroneous claims, including: that Ashkenazi Jews are descended solely from the remnants of a bygone kingdom on the Caspian Sea; that the term “antisemitism” describes animus toward speakers of Semitic languages; and that Jews from Arab lands emigrated to Israel primarily because they were coerced by Zionists.
Abbas, who has served unelected since his four-year term as president expired in 2009, has gotten flak for his Holocaust-related historiography and rhetoric in the past. In 2018, he made a speech that included similar claims to those in this year’s address — drawing widespread condemnation and prompting The New York Times to publish a staff editorial with the headline, “Let Abbas’s Vile Words Be His Last as Palestinian Leader.” In May of this year, he equated Israel with Hitler’s top propagandist, Joseph Goebbels.
Washington Says It Will Not Back Expanded IDF Operations in Rafah
i24 News – Medics reported that Israeli airstrikes overnight in Gaza’s Rafah claimed the lives of 17 individuals on Saturday.
The attacks come as tensions escalate, with over a million Palestinians densely packed into the border city, awaiting a potential full-scale offensive amid widespread destruction across the enclave and limited avenues of escape.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced plans for military action, aiming to evacuate Rafah’s population and dismantle four Hamas battalions allegedly stationed in the area.
As IDF prepares for an intense ground operation in Rafah, its efforts to create safe corridors for Palestinian civilians are made more difficult by the fighting ongoing throughout Gaza. @mcauliffe_marym joins @Nicole_Zedek with the latest updates: pic.twitter.com/83PJfNMEdd
— i24NEWS English (@i24NEWS_EN) February 10, 2024
Unlike previous conflicts where civilians were urged to seek refuge in southern Gaza, the current situation presents a dilemma as there are no relatively unscathed areas left, leaving residents with nowhere to flee. Aid agencies have warned of the potential for a significant loss of civilian lives should an assault on Rafah occur.
Reports from Gaza City indicate intensified fighting on Saturday, with residents reporting clashes amid the ongoing hostilities.
An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity to Reuters, disclosed plans to coordinate the relocation of Rafah residents northward in anticipation of potential military action. However, Egypt has stated its refusal to permit mass displacement of Palestinians into its territory,.
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Numerous Weapons Discovered in UNRWA Premises in Gaza
i24 News – The IDF revealed that it had discovered, in the areas of Shati and Tel al-Hawa in northern Gaza, twenty terrorist infrastructure sites including a tunnel entrance near an UNRWA school. The tunnel, an “important part of Hamas’ military intelligence services,” passed under the building which serves as the main headquarters of UNRWA in the Gaza Strip.
Large quantities of weapons were found in rooms of the building, including rifles, ammunition, grenades and explosives. Intelligence and documents discovered in the offices of UNRWA officials confirmed that these offices had also been used by Hamas terrorists, the military claims.
The post Numerous Weapons Discovered in UNRWA Premises in Gaza first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Qatar Says Hamas ‘Promises’ Hostages Received Medicines, But Offers no proof
i24 News – In a recent development, Qatar has informed both Israel and France that Hamas has purportedly agreed to ensure that hostages receive the essential medicines delivered to them in the Gaza Strip.
Last month, Qatar facilitated the transfer of these crucial drugs to Gaza following a comprehensive list compiled with input from the hostages’ respective doctors. The medications in question are deemed “vital,” primarily aimed at addressing chronic illnesses among the hostages.
This development comes amidst ongoing efforts to address the welfare and medical needs of the hostages held in Gaza, with international stakeholders closely monitoring the situation for further updates.
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