Palestinian Authority, PLO and Fatah President Mahmoud Abbas apologised on Friday for comments he made last week which were widely decried as anti-Semitic.
"If people were offended by my statement, 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.
"I would also like to reiterate our long-held condemnation of the Holocaust, as the most heinous crime in history, and express our sympathy with its victims," he said.
"Likewise, we condemn anti- Semitism in all its forms, and confirm our commitment to the two- state solution, and to live side by side in peace and security," a statement released in English, Hebrew and Arabic said.
Abbas said on Monday that Jews in eastern and western Europe had been periodically subjected to massacres over the centuries, culminating in the Holocaust.
"But why did this used to happen?" he asked. "They say, 'It is because we are Jews.' I will bring you three Jews, with three books who say that enmity towards Jews was not because of their religious identity but because of their social function.
"This is a different issue. So the Jewish question that was widespread throughout Europe was not against their religion but against their social function which relates to usury [unscrupulous money-lending] and banking and such."
Abbas also denied that Ashkenazi Jews – Jews from Germany and north-eastern Europe – were actually Semitic, saying, "They have no relation to Semitic people."
Since 2007, Abbas has been describing the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as reactionists and forming an emirate of darkness just because they ended about one and half a year of political and security chaos that took the lives of tens of civilians.
He took part in the strict Israeli siege imposed on Gaza and cut electricity supplies, stopped paying for the referrals of medical treatment, cut their salaries, imposed high taxes, etc…
Abbas even cut the salaries of the Palestinians detainees inside the Israeli jails from the Gaza Strip. He cut the stipends paid for their families, wives and children.
Will Abbas, who apologised for the occupation, apologise for the Palestinians and stop or cancel his punitive measures imposed on them.