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Hamas slams Palestinian visit to Holocaust site
Published Thursday 02/08/2012 (updated) 03/08/2012 18:00
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A sign placed over the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz reads
'Work sets you free.'
GAZA CITY (Reuters) -- The Hamas Islamist group in charge of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday denounced a Palestinian official's visit to the site of a Nazi death camp in Poland, and called the Holocaust in which 6 million European Jews perished an "alleged tragedy."

Ziad al-Bandak, an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who governs in the occupied West Bank, had made a rare visit by a Palestinian official to the site of the Auschwitz death camp late last month.

"It was an unjustified and unhelpful visit that served only the Zionist occupation," said Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas. Hamas rejects interim peace accords reached by Abbas' Fatah group with Israel.

Barhoum further called Bandak's visit to Auschwitz, a camp where the Nazis killed 1.5 million people, most of them Jews but also other Polish citizens, during World War Two, as "a marketing of a false Zionist alleged tragedy."

He said he saw this as coming "at the expense of a real Palestinian tragedy," alluding to Israel's control over territory where Palestinians live and seek to establish a state.

Israel was founded in 1948, several years after the wartime genocide occurred.

Islamist extremists have taken to denying the Holocaust happened as part of a narrative rejecting Israel's existence, often at the encouragement of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called the genocide "a myth."

Israel and Iran have been locked in a dispute over an Iranian nuclear program the West fears is intended to produce atomic weapons. The West has imposed sanctions on Tehran to try and force it to rein in the project. Iran insists its atomic work is intended solely for peaceful purposes.

Iran is an ally of Hamas, which seized control of Gaza in 2007 from Abbas' Fatah group. Gaza, home to some 1.5 million Palestinians, many refugees or descendants of those who fled or were driven away when Israel was founded, is separate and isolated from the other Palestinian territory of the West Bank.

Israel tightly monitors Gaza's frontiers, and cross-border violence is frequent with militants often firing rockets at Israel and Israel staging deadly bombing raids against targets in the coastal territory.

Bandak's visit to Auschwitz, where he laid a wreath at the invitation of a group working for tolerance in Poland, was a rare one by a Palestinian to the death camp site. Muslim officials from other countries have also paid respects there.
1 ) Drekish / Syria
02/08/2012 12:21
Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas. What's his problem, and what does it have to do with Hamas?

2 ) Emile / Palestine
02/08/2012 12:26
Hamas you are a bunch of idiots. Don't get me wrong, I do not agree with a Palestinian official visit to Auschwitz, especially while Zionist deny us our rights and deny the Nakba. But what is the point of questioning the Holocaust whether or not you believe it happened? The holocaust was perpetrated by Europeans, not Arabs, but they made Palestinians pay the price. Really Hamas, with each passing day you look more and more foolish, playing right into the hands of the Zionists.

3 ) Arnold / Canada
02/08/2012 14:35
If a tree falls in the forest but noone is there to hear it , does it make a sound ? This is comparable to the holocaust deniers. Just because they were not there to see it does not mean it never happened.

4 ) Jad / Ramallah
02/08/2012 14:42
#) very well said, emilie

5 ) Hilde / Palestine
02/08/2012 14:47

6 ) Robby / USA
02/08/2012 16:40
2 ) Emile / Palestine - I agree with Jad, well said.

7 ) Arnold / Canada
02/08/2012 17:07
Emile # 2. Like you posted. "Hamas you are a bunch of idiots. ". That is the 2012 version of idiot Palestinian leaders. In fact you have a whole history of idiot Palestinian leaders like in 1947 when Mr. ......... wait a second. Please tell me who was the President of Palestine in 1947. I cannot recall his name.

8 ) MATT / USA
02/08/2012 20:49
i dont like hamas, but really. This denial makes them look like the morons they really are

9 ) Outlier / USA
02/08/2012 21:08
Based on the comments in the article, Hamas = Fools.

10 ) ian / australia
03/08/2012 05:00
I agree with Emile too (really well said) also Jad, Hilde, Robby, Matt and Outlier. Hamas DO come across as "a bunch of idiots" a lot of the time but not because of anything to do with the Holocaust. Anyone can question a version of history (in a free society that is). Ziad al-Bandak may well have his own doubts about aspects of the story but he has the political savvy to realise it's pointlessly confrontational to broadcast it. That's the real reason why Hamas look like idiots.

11 ) ian / australia
03/08/2012 07:28
#3 That doesn't make a great deal of sense to me Arnold. "If a tree falls in the forest" and there's no-one there to hear it, well yes, no-one would hear it but I'm pretty sure it would still make a noise. And it would be there, lying on the ground when you arrived making it pretty obvious what happened. So why is it "comparable to holocaust deniers"? I don't think anyone argues that the "false Zionist alleged tragedy" (as Fawzi Barhoum unwisely put it) didn't happen because they didn't

12 ) ian / australia
03/08/2012 07:29
(contd.) personally see it happen. Not when thousands of people clearly were there, survived and claim that they did.

13 ) Colin Wright / USA
03/08/2012 10:40
Emile #2's got it right.

14 ) ghada / palestine
03/08/2012 11:29
The visit to Auschwitz camp is wrong at this time of Palestinian history. I feel sorry for the innocent ones who were tortured By German Nazi But Israel is doing worse than Hitler towards the Plaestinians ....I could hear the children Of Deer Yasin massacre ......Sabra and shateela ............SHAME SHAME on the visit.

15 ) Slogans / Truth
03/08/2012 14:59
Nazi Germany's slogan was "Work Makes Free", but it was a Lie, while
Israel's slogan is "Negotiation Makes Statehood", and it is the Truth !!

16 ) ian / australia
03/08/2012 16:57
#3 (cont) who said they were not there? ever heard of the mufti?

17 ) ian / australia
04/08/2012 03:11
#16 "...who said they were not there? ever heard of the mufti?" What? You think the Mufti was in the forest? And heard the tree fall? This is starting to hurt my brain. I'm responding to someone pretending to be me responding to a comment (#3) I thought was incoherent with something about the Mufti being somewhere I can't follow either. I need to lie down.

18 ) Dunk / Canada
04/08/2012 15:09
@Ghada/ Palestine....."Israel is doing worse than Hitler towards the Plaestinians"....If that were the case there wouldn't be any Palestinians left. Over 90% of Polish Jews were murdered. Only 300,000 of over 3 million survived. The Palestinian population is growing in leaps and bounds....And if you people weren't so foolish you'd be living decent lives. Stop trying to wipe out Israel and there will be peace and prosperity for you.

19 ) Ben / USA
04/08/2012 19:59
Dunk: well said. So, it's wrong for Israel to deny an-nakba but because they do, Palestinians should not acknowledge the Holocaust? Palestinians look juvenile, as usual. Deny my rights and I'll deny yours. That's nice.

20 ) ian / australia
05/08/2012 04:34
#19 "Deny my rights and I'll deny yours. That's nice." What would be nice is if everyone respected everyone's rights and acknowledged everyone's historic tragedies and obeyed the law. Ball's in Israel's court.

21 ) ian / australia
05/08/2012 05:05
#18 "And if you people weren't so foolish you'd be living decent lives. Stop trying to wipe out Israel and there will be peace and prosperity for you." Asking for a demilitarised state on the June '67 line which includes the Aqsa mosque is hardly trying to "wipe out Israel" so when's all that "peace and prosperity" and those "decent lives" coming?
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