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Palestinian President Apologizes Over Anti-Jewish Speech

East Jerusalem (May 04, 2018): Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas apologized on Friday over his anti-Jewish speech.

“If people were offended by my statement at the Palestinian National Council, especially people of the Jewish faith, I apologise to them,” he said in a statement, days after appearing to suggest Jewish behaviour, including money lending, led to their persecution in Europe.The English-language statement added he wanted “to reiterate our long-held condemnation of the Holocaust, as the most heinous crime in history”.

“We condemn anti-Semitism in all its forms, and confirm our commitment to the two-state solution, and to (living) side by side in peace and security.”

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman immediately rejected the statement on Twitter. Abbas “is a pathetic Holocaust denier who wrote a doctorate about Holocaust denial and then a book about Holocaust denial,” he said, citing past works that had already led to accusations of anti-Semitism. “His apology is not accepted.”Earlier, in a speech to hundreds of Palestinian officials, the 82-year-old said for centuries Jews in Europe were “subjected to a massacre every 10 to 15 years. But why did this happen? They say ‘it is because we are Jews’.”

He then cited “three books” written by Jews as evidence that “hostility against Jews is not because of their religion, but rather their social function,” adding he meant “their social function related to banks and interest”.

He also reiterated claims that Israel was a colonial project encouraged by European leaders who wanted to be rid of their Jewish populations.

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