World

Palestinian President Abbas apologizes for Munich attack

BERLIN – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday expressed no regrets over the deadly attack by Palestinian militants on Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics half a century ago, countering that Israel had made “50 Holocaust” against the Palestinians over the years.

Eleven Israeli athletes and a German police officer were killed after members of the Palestinian militant group Black September were taken hostage at the Olympic Village on September 5, 1972. At the time of the attack public, the group is affiliated with Abbas’s Fatah party.

Asked if, as the Palestinian leader, he planned to apologize to Israel and Germany for the attack before next month’s 50th anniversary celebrations, Abbas responded by citing allegations of Israeli atrocities since 1947.

“If we want to get over the past, let’s move on,” Abbas told reporters after meeting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin. “I have 50 slaughters that Israel has committed to.”

Standing next to Scholz, Abbas explicitly used the word “Holocausts” in his answer, making the German chancellor wince. Germany has long argued that the term should only be used to describe Nazi Germany’s unique crime of killing six million Jews before and during World War II.

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

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

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

He wrote on Twitter: “The (Palestinian) leader will have sympathy if he apologizes for the terrorist attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. “Instead, accuse Israel on ’50 Holocausts’ is the most disgusting speech ever heard from the German Chancellor,” he said.

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

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

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said Abbas’s remarks about the “50 Holocaust”, made on German soil, were “not only a moral disgrace, but a monstrous lie”.

“Six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, including one and a half million Jewish children,” Lapid tweeted. “History will never forgive him.”

Weeks before the planned murky celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the Munich attack, Germany was also embroiled in controversy over its dealings with relatives of Israelis who had died.

Last week, the victims’ families announced that they planned to boycott the ceremony after failing to reach an agreement on greater compensation from the German government.

Relatives of the athletes have long accused Germany of failing to secure the Olympic Village, refusing Israeli help and carrying out a rescue operation in which five assailants were also killed.

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