02:26 GMT09 August 2020
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    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has offered an apology after he was criticized for anti-Semitism in a speech where he implied that historic persecution of European Jews had been prompted by their conduct, not by their religion.

    "If people were offended by my statement in front of the PNC, especially people of the Jewish faith, I apologize 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 Palestinian president said.

    Mahmoud Abbas said he condemned the Holocaust and called it the "most heinous crime in history," in a statement published by his office in Ramallah after a meeting of the Palestinian National Council (PNC).

    Israeli Defense Minister has rejected Abbas' apology, reportedly calling him "wretched Holocaust denier."

    "Abu Mazen is a wretched Holocaust denier, who wrote a doctorate of Holocaust denial and later also published a book on Holocaust denial. That is how he should be treated. His apologies are not accepted," Lieberman wrote on Twitter.

    READ MORE: UK Minister Calls Holocaust Remarks by Mahmoud Abbas 'Concerning'

    On April 30, Abbas stated that the Jews had been tortured and murdered in Europe for years because of their social behavior and connections to charging interest on loans rather than because of their nationality. Also, the Palestinian leader expressed the view that Israel was a European project from the very beginning.

    The Palestinian leader's speech has been condemned by many European governments and the United States among others.    

    The Israelis and the Palestinians have been locked in a conflict, the latter 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.

    Judaism, jews, Holocaust, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestine
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