After the accusations made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has issued excuses for his remarks, saying that he respects the Jewish faith and considers the Holocaust to be the "most heinous crime in history." However, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman rejected Abbas' apology, calling him a "wretched Holocaust denier."
Sputnik: What are your thoughts on the comments made by Abbas? Do they come as a surprise for you?
Edy Cohen: I'm not surprised. Mr. Abbas was always a holocaust denier. He was always an anti-Semite. He got his PhD in the Middle East Institute, but it is not a PhD dissertation. It is Nazi propaganda. So what he said is based on his so-called PhD dissertation. He said the Jews were gamblers. He justified the killing of Jews.
Sputnik: The relations between the two countries historically have been very tense. The movement of the American Embassy to Jerusalem has not helped in recent months. Just give our listeners an insight into the current situation with regards to the stance between Palestine and the Israelis at the moment. Historically there has never been any real movement forward. Do you feel that there is opportunity now with this apology [from Abbas]?
Edy Cohen: No. I'm sorry to tell you that. Mr. Abbas is very angry, but he is angry a President Trump. It's not our fault that the President of the United States decided to transfer the location of his embassy. It's not our fault! Secondly, eight years ago, President Obama was the Palestinian friend. So when President Obama was president, the relations were also between the Palestinian [and Israel] were bad.
Now it's another president. This president is Zionist! Trump is very pro-Israel, I know that. But before him there was another president. The problem is with the Palestinians, not with the Israelis, nor with the US president. They are the problem. We need a president like Anwar Sadat, a courageous president that comes to Israel, comes to the Knesset, meet with the people of Israel and say "I want shalom, I want peace." We hear anti-Semite speech from Mahmud Abbas [instead].
Sputnik: What would you like to see done between these two leaders in moving this forward? What's the best advice and recommendation for both leaders?
Edy Cohen: I think Mahmoud Abbas, it's better that he resigns and leaves the Palestinian authority to the younger generation; people that really want peace. Mr. Abbas is 82-83 [years old], this is the mentality of the Palestinian PLO organization; it's time that the Palestinians change their leader. Maybe we will have a courageous leader. I think Mr. Abbas — we can't make peace with him, because he thinks that the Holocaust is a conspiracy between the Jews and Adolf Hitler. So, we can't make peace with a holocaust denier.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the expert and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.