Palestinian President formally apologises for Holocaust speech

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Jerusalem, Israel - March 26, 2017: people life in jerusalem bazaar street in damascus Gate

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has said he “fully respects the Jewish faith” after formally apologising for accusations of antisemitism in a recent speech. 

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, took to Twitter to accuse Abbas of antisemitism, writing: “Once a Holocaust denier, always a Holocaust denier.”

“I call upon the international community to condemn the grave antisemitism of Abu Mazen [Abbas’s nickname], which should have long since passed from this world,” he added.

Abbas made the comments on Monday and apologised with a statement released by his office following a four-day meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC).

“If people were offended by my statement in front of the PNC, especially people of the Jewish faith, I apologise to them. I would like to assure everyone that it was not my intention to do so, and to reiterate my full respect for the Jewish faith, as well as other monotheistic faiths,” the statement read.

“I would also like to reiterate our long-held condemnation of the Holocaust, as the most heinous crime in history, and express our sympathy with its victims,” he added.

The Israeli prime minister was not alone in condemning the speech, with the EU’s foreign service calling the remarks “unacceptable”.

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum also released a statement, calling the remarks “grossly inaccurate and an insidious type of antisemitism”.

“The Nazis believed that Germans were racially superior and that the Jews, deemed inferior, were a threat to the so-called German racial community and had to be eliminated,” it said in the statement.