May 2, 2018 / 12:53 PM / 7 months ago

EU calls Abbas Holocaust remarks 'unacceptable'

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas waves in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank May 1, 2018. Picture taken May 1, 2018. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union’s foreign service condemned remarks on the Holocaust by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as “unacceptable”, echoing criticism on Wednesday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In strikingly blunt language from Brussels, the European External Action Service said in a statement: “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.”

Netanyahu called for international condemnation of “anti-Semitism” by Abbas over remarks on Monday in which the Palestinian leader suggested historic persecution of Jews in Europe was caused by their conduct.

The EEAS added: “Antisemitism is not only a threat for Jews but a fundamental menace to our open and liberal societies.

“The European Union remains committed to combat any form of anti-Semitism and any attempt to condone, justify or grossly trivialise the Holocaust.”

Reporting by Alastair Macdonald ; @macdonaldrtr; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek

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