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    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks during a news conference in Jerusalem October 8, 2015.

    Netanyahu Accuses Palestinian Leader Abbas of Holocaust Denial

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    The accusation follows Mahmoud Abbas’ remark that Jews were persecuted during World War II because they dealt with loans and not religion being the root of anti-Semitism.

    "It would appear that, once a Holocaust denier, always a Holocaust denier," Netanyahu said on Twitter. "I call upon the international community to condemn the grave anti-Semitism of Abu Mazen (Abbas), which should have long since passed from this world."

    Abbas made the controversial remarks on Monday in a speech to the parliament of the Palestine Liberation Organization, saying that hostility towards Jews in Europe in was caused by their "social function" which included money-lending. The Palestinian leader also described the state of Israel as a colonial project, stressing "history tells us there is no basis for the Jewish homeland."

    The remarks were met with harsh criticism by the Trump administration, with Donald Trump's special envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt describing the rant as "very distressing and terribly disheartening" and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman saying that it is not Israel that is seeking conflict in the Middle East.

    The European Union also slammed the statement by Abbas as "unacceptable," adding that they hamper the two-state solution, a concept that stipulates the coexistence of the states of Israel and Palestine.

    "The speech Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered on 30 April contained unacceptable remarks concerning the origins of the Holocaust and Israel's legitimacy. Such rhetoric will only play into the hands of those who do not want a two-state solution, which President Abbas has repeatedly advocated," Kocijancic said in a statement.

    Israel has been locked in a conflict with the Palestinians, who have been seeking to establish an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, which are partially controlled by Israel, and the Gaza Strip.

    READ MORE: Palestine May Soon Take 'Serious' Steps Against Israel, US

    Israel has been refusing to recognize Palestine as an independent state, constructing the Jewish settlements in the West Bank, despite objections from the United Nations.

    The new spike in tensions occurred last December when US President Donald Trump decided to recognize the whole city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and launched the process of relocating the US Embassy, currently located in Tel Aviv, to the ancient city. The move was slammed by a number of states, especially Palestine and those in the Middle East, and triggered a wave of protests in the region.

    READ MORE: Israel Will Probe 'Any Killing or Injuring of Innocent Civilians' – Diplomat

    Palestine intends to continue its peaceful mass protests in the Gaza Strip and begin similar rallies in the West Bank on the day of the US embassy’s move to Jerusalem, scheduled for May 14, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki told Sputnik on Wednesday.

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    Tags:
    anti-Semitism, Benjamin Netanyahu, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestine, Israel
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