Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday the Nazi Holocaust was “the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era.”
His statement coincided with Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is held during the week after passover each year.
The remark comes just days after peace-talks between Palestine and Israel came to a halt.
Abbas expressed sympathies for the families and victims of the 6 million Jews who were killed during the Holocaust between 1939 and 1945.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused the leader of being in bed with a holocaust denying Islamist group, referring to the recent power sharing agreement between Palestinians and Islamist group Hamas. Netanyahu has blamed last week’s peace talks collapse on the Hamas deal.
“What I say to him very simply is this: President Abbas, tear up your pact with Hamas,” Netanyahu said in an appearance on the CBS news program Face the Nation on Sunday.
News of the unity pact between the Palestinian Liberation Organization, led by Abbas, and Hamas surfaced on Wednesday after seven years of bad relations between the rival groups.
After the agreement was announced, Israel canceled negotiations set to take place before the April 29 expiration date for the peace talks.
Both the U.S. and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist group. Washington officials were reportedly surprised by the sudden agreement between the PLO and Hamas.
A spokesperson for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been brokering the peace talks, said the timing was “troubling” and called the development “disappointing.”