Yad Vashem: Abbas' Holocaust Message May Herald Shift in Palestinian Stance

'Acknowledging the crimes of the Holocaust is fundamental to anyone who wants to confront history honestly,' statement reads.

Abbas, top left, and Labor party secretary-general Hilik Bar, top second left, in Ramallah. Feb. 16, 2014.AP

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem issued a statement on Sunday saying that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ statement regarding the Holocaust "might signal a change in the way the subject is treated in the Arab world and among the Palestinian public."

Holocaust denial and revisionism are sadly prevalent in the Arab world, including among Palestinians,” Yad Vashem's statement said. “Thus, the statement that the ‘Holocaust is the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era,’ coming from Abbas, might signal a change, and we expect it will be reflected in PA websites, curricula and discourse. Acknowledging the crimes of the Holocaust is fundamental to anyone who wants to confront history honestly. Yad Vashem encourages anyone who wants to learn about this seminal event to visit our websites and YouTube channels in Arabic and other languages.”

In an interview with CNN on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu belittled the importance of Abbas’ statement, which was made in Arabic and English, terming it “damage control.”

Netanyahu argued that Abbas can’t call the Holocaust history’s most heinous crime and in the same breath embrace Hamas, which denies the Holocaust.

“I think probably what he’s trying to do is damage control,” said Netanyahu. “What President Abbas is trying to do is placate Western public opinion that understands that he delivered a terrible blow to the peace process by embracing these Hamas terrorists. I think he is trying to wiggle his way out of it.”