Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Hamas Shoah Denial

From Associated press, 1/9/09, by DIAA HADID:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A Hamas "spiritual" leader on Monday called teaching Palestinian children about the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews a "war crime," rejecting a suggestion that the U.N. might include the Holocaust in Gaza's school curriculum.

A senior Israeli official said such statements should make the West think twice about ending its boycott of Hamas, in place since the group seized Gaza by force in 2007. Israeli officials called the comments as "obscene" and said they place Hamas in a pariah club of Holocaust deniers that includes Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Hamas spiritual leader Younis al-Astal lashed out after hearing that the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, the main U.N. body aiding Palestinian refugees, planned to introduce lessons about the Holocaust to Gaza students. Adding the Holocaust to the curriculum would amount to "marketing a lie and spreading it ...it serves the Zionist colonizers and deals with their hypocrisy and lies," he wrote.

...Many Palestinians are reluctant to acknowledge Jewish suffering, fearing it might diminish their own. Attitudes toward the Holocaust range from outright denial to challenging its scope.

...Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri also objected to including what he referred to as the "so-called Holocaust" in the lesson plan. "We think it's more important to teach Palestinians the crimes of the Israeli occupation," he said.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said countries contemplating ending their boycott of Hamas must "seriously reconsider" after the Hamas statements, which he described as "obscene."

The Holocaust is not taught in West Bank schools, said an education ministry official in Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas' government.

Israelis have long complained that Palestinian textbooks present Israel only as an enemy, despite a series of interim peace deals. Also, they charge that maps in the books do not show Israel at all...

...Some parents opposed the idea of their children learning about the Holocaust. "I don't want them teaching my children Jewish lies," Mohammed Silmi, 33, said Monday, after driving his son to a U.N. school in Gaza City on the back of a motorbike. "It will just be Zionist propaganda."

Hamas' founding charter calls for Israel's destruction, though senior Hamas officials have recently said they would accept a Palestinian state alongside Israel as an interim stage to full Islamic control of the region...
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