Abbas skirts apology for Munich massacre, says Israel committed ’50 Holocausts’; blasted by Lapid

Abbas explicitly used the word “Holocausts,” drawing a grimace from the German chancellor, while Lapid said that “history will never forgive him.” 

By AP and World Israel News Staff

In Berlin, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed no regret Tuesday for the deadly attack by Palestinian terrorists against Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics half a century ago, countering that Israel had committed “50 Holocausts” against Palestinians over the years.

Eleven Israeli athletes and a German police officer died after members of the Palestinian terrorist group Black September took hostages at the Olympic Village on Sept. 5, 1972. At the time of the attack, the group was linked to Abbas’ Fatah party.

Asked whether, as Palestinian leader, he planned to apologize to Israel and Germany for the attack ahead of the 50th anniversary next month, Abbas responded instead by citing allegations of alleged atrocities committed by Israel since 1947.

“If we want to go over the past, go ahead,” Abbas told reporters after a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “I have 50 slaughters that Israel committed.”

Standing next to Scholz during a joint news conference, Abbas explicitly used the word “Holocausts” in his reply, drawing a grimace from the German chancellor. Germany has long argued the term should only be used to describe the Nazis’ singular crime of killing six million Jews before and during World War II.

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While Scholz had earlier rejected the Palestinian leader’s description of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as “apartheid,” he did not immediately rebuke Abbas for using the term “Holocaust.”

In a statement to German daily Bild, Scholz later criticized Abbas’s choice of words, saying any downplaying of the horrors of the Holocaust was “unacceptable.”

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, whose father was a Holocaust survivor, condemned Abbas’s comments, saying, “Mahmoud Abbas accusing Israel of having committed ‘50 Holocausts’ while standing on German soil is not only a moral disgrace, but a monstrous lie.”

“Six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, including one and a half million Jewish children. History will never forgive him,” he added.

Conservative German lawmaker Armin Laschet likewise expressed outrage at Abbas’ comments.

“The (Palestinian) leader would have gained sympathy if he had apologized for the terrorist attack on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics 1972,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Accusing Israel of ‘50 Holocausts’ instead is the most disgusting speech ever heard in the German Chancellery,” he said.

In his response, the Palestinian president also said he was committed to building trust and achieving a peaceful solution to the conflict with Israel.

“Please come to peace,” he said. “Please come to security, let’s build trust between us and you. This is better than other kinds of talking.”

Abbas called on Germany to recognize a Palestinian state. “Recognizing Palestine’s statehood will help us, and will support finding a solution,” he said.

Indeed, two years ago, Fatah, which is headed by Abbas, marked the 48th anniversary of the Munich massacre of Israeli athletes by posting a memorial praising the terrorists who carried out the brutal attack.

“On this day, the fighters of Fatah’s ‘Black September’ movement carried out Operation Munich, which embodied the meaning of courage and boldness of the Palestinian resistance and his self-sacrifice for the homeland and the cause,” Fatah said in the post on its Facebook page.

Now, weeks ahead of a planned somber commemoration marking the 50th anniversary of the Munich attack, Germany has also found itself embroiled in controversy in its dealings with the relatives of the Israelis who were killed.

Victims’ families announced last week that they planned to boycott the ceremony after failing to reach agreement on bigger compensation from the German government.

Relatives of the athletes have long accused Germany of failing to secure the Olympic Village, refusing Israeli help and botching a rescue operation in which five of the attackers also died.