Palestinian Prez sparks outrage with Holocaust accusation against Israel
Visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sparked outragewhen he accused Israel of committing a “Holocaust” against Palestinians during a joint press conference here with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
During the joint press conference on Tuesday, Abbas said that “Israel has committed 50 massacres in 50 Palestinian locations since 1947” and added “50 massacres, 50 Holocausts”, reports dpa news agency.
Abbas’ remarks were in response to a journalist who asked whether he would apologise to Israel on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the attack by Palestinian terrorists on the Israeli team during the 1972 Olympics in Munich, which resulted in the death of 10 Israeli athletes and coaches as well as one German police officer.
Scholz listened to the statements with a look of alarm and annoyance, but did not offer an immediate reply.
His spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit declared the news conference over immediately after Abbas’ answer, which had been previously announced as the last question.
Hebestreit said afterwards that Scholz was outraged by Abbas’ statements.
“For us Germans in particular, any relativisation of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable,” Scholz later told the German tabloid Bild.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid also responded.
“Mahmoud Abbas accusing Israel of having committed ’50 Holocausts’ while standing on German soil is not only a moral disgrace, but a monstrous lie,” Lapid tweeted.
“Six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, including one and a half million Jewish children,” Lapid wrote.
“History will never forgive him.”
Germany’s opposition conservatives said the way Scholz handled the incident was “incomprehensible”.
Christian Democrats leader Friedrich Merz said the Chancellor should have “clearly and unequivocally contradicted the Palestinian President and asked him to leave!” he wrote on Twitter, while Bundestag member Armin Laschet said that Abbas’ accusations were “the most disgusting speech ever heard in the German Chancellery”.
This was not the first time Abbas caused a stir with a Holocaust remark.
In 2018, he said the murder of some 6 million Jews by Nazi Germany was not triggered by anti-Semitism.
Rather, he said it was caused by the social position of Jews as interest-seeking lenders of credit, deploying the anti-Semitic trope of Jews as greedy money lovers.
Abbas later apologised.
FIRST ROZA ON THURSDAY IN SAUDI ARABIA & JERUSALEM OR PALESTINE
JERUSALEM: The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine, Mohammad Hussein, declared that Thursday, March 23, will be the first day of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
RIYADH: The crescent moon was not sighted on Tuesday evening in Saudi Arabia and Thursday, March 23, will be the start of the holy month of Ramadan, the Kingdom’s Supreme Court has said.
The court called on all Muslims in the Kingdom to look for the Ramadan crescent on Tuesday evening that corresponds to Shaban 29, 1444.
The Ministry of Justice announced it has launched an electronic system for crescent sighting “with the aim of automating and governing the moon sighting processes, and unifying work procedures between the courts of first instance and the Supreme Court.”
The service aims to unify the data source of the observatory through a robust electronic system that provides speed and integration with the relevant authorities, raising the quality of the observatory operations, and speeding up the issuance of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding new moon sightings.
More than 1.9 billion Muslims around the world will mark the holy month, during which believers abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn until sunset.
Indian flag pulled down by pro-Khalistani protesters at London mission; MEA summons UK diplomat
The tricolour flying atop the Indian High Commission in London was pulled down by a group of protesters waving Khalistani flags and chanting pro-Khalistani slogans on Sunday evening.
Scotland Yard, headquarters of Metropolitan Police, said it was “aware” of an incident in the area but is yet to issue an official statement.
India has, meanwhile, registered its strong protest with the British government over the safety of its diplomatic mission and questioned the lack of sufficient security at the premises.
Images of shattered windows and men climbing the India House building were circulating on social media and videos from the scene show an Indian official grabbing the flag from a protester through the first-floor window of the mission, while the protester is seen waving a Khalistan flag hanging off its ledge.
MEA summons UK diplomat
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the senior-most UK diplomat in New Delhi was summoned late evening on Sunday to convey India’s “strong protest” at the actions taken by separatist and extremist elements against the Indian High Commission in London.
“An explanation was demanded for the complete absence of the British security that allowed these elements to enter the High Commission premises. She was reminded in this regard of the basic obligations of the UK Government under the Vienna Convention,” the MEA said in a statement.
“India finds unacceptable the indifference of the UK government to the security of Indian diplomatic premises and personnel in the UK. It is expected that the UK Government would take immediate steps to identify, arrest and prosecute each one of those involved in today’s incident, and put in place stringent measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents,” it said.
The banned terrorist organisation, Sikhs For Justice, is conducting a so-called “Referendum 2020” amid a crackdown on pro-Khalistan leader Amritpal Singh in Punjab.
Hamas warns Israel against any change in Al-Aqsa status quo as Ramzan nears
As the Muslim holy month of Ramzan is approaching, Hamas has warned Israel against any change in the status quo at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem, saying any change “would turn the area into an earthquake”.
Marwan Issa, deputy chief of staff of Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, made the remarks amid warnings of increased tensions between Israel and Palestine, especially in Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, reports Xinhua news agency.
“There is no political process, and the enemy (Israel) has annulled Oslo treaties (signed between Israel and the Palestinians in 1993), so that the coming days will be full of events and incidents,” Issa said.
He called for “igniting and supporting resistance action in all Palestine, mainly in the West Bank and Jerusalem,” adding: “We will defend the Palestinian people with all force when direct intervention is required.”
In April 2022, the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound witnessed violent clashes between Palestinian worshipers and Israeli police forces when Jews visited the holy s
ite. Dozens of Palestinian worshipers were injured.
The Hamas threats also came amid escalating tensions in the West Bank which flared up in January.
Since January, 84 Palestinians and 14 Israelis have been killed in the ensuing violence.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, known to Jews as the most sacred site, is regarded by Muslims as their third holiest site.
The holy site has been administered by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a Jordanian body, since 1948.
Under a 1967 agreement between Israel and Jordan, non-Muslim worshippers can visit the compound but are prohibited from praying there.
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