U.S. Official on Netanyahu's Hitler Remarks: Israel, Palestinians Must Avoid Inflammatory Rhetoric

U.S. has stressed publicly and privately the importance of both avoiding actions that could feed violence, senior U.S. official says.

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Netanyahu speaking before the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, October 21, 2015.
Netanyahu speaking before the World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem, October 21, 2015.Credit: AFP
Barak Ravid
Jack Khoury

A senior U.S. official said Wednesday that the United States expects both Israel and the Palestinians to refrain from inflammatory statements that could escalate the situation, referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's comments on Adolf Hitler and the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

"We have seen and are aware of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statements," the official said. "We continue to stress publicly and privately the importance of preventing inflammatory rhetoric, accusations or actions on both sides that can feed the violence."

Netanyahu sparked public uproar when on Tuesday he claimed that the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was the one who planted the idea of the extermination of European Jewry in Adolf Hitler's mind. The Nazi ruler, Netanyahu said, had no intention of killing the Jews, but only to expel them.

Earlier, PLO secretary-general Saeb Erekat said accused Netanyahu of distorting history, saying that the prime minister hates the Palestinians so much that he is ready to absolve Hitler of the murder of six million Jews.

Erekat said that the Palestinian Authority condemns such statements and that history shows that thousands of Palestinians fought the Nazis alongside the Allied Forces. "Netanyahu must stop using the Holocaust and the human catastrophe to gain points in the Israeli political arena."

Israel's opposition head and Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog strongly criticized Netanyahu, saying that "This is a dangerous historical distortion and I demand Netanyahu correct it immediately as it minimizes the Holocaust, Nazism andHitler's part in our people's terrible disaster."

Germany also said Wednesday that no one else but the Germans holds responsibility for the Holocaust.

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