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Hamas slams Palestinian official´s visit to Auschwitz (ISRAEL HAYOM) Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff 08/02/12)Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=5266 Israel Hayom Israel Hayom Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
Hamas says the visit to site of "false Zionist alleged tragedy" served "only the Zionist occupation" • Upon arrival, adviser to Paelstinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas lays a wreath on concentration camp grounds in respect for the victims.

Ziad al-Bandak, an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, recently visited the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, where 1.5 million people were killed during the Holocaust. Bandak´s visit constituted a rare recognition of the Holocaust by a Palestinian official.

The opposing Hamas party, which rules the Gaza Strip, was outraged by the Bandak´s visit. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said: "It was an unjustified and unhelpful visit that served only the Zionist occupation." Barhoum continued by calling into question the scope of the Holocaust, saying the visit was "a marketing of a false Zionist alleged tragedy."

The EU, the U.S., Canada, Israel and Japan classify Hamas as a terrorist organization. Its strategies have included rocket attacks and suicide bombings.

Abbas´ adviser placed a wreath on the grounds at Auschwitz as a sign of respect for the people exterminated there during WWII, most of whom were Jews. Officials from other Muslim countries have made similar gestures in the past.

Hamas has repeatedly rejected Israel´s right to exist and does not recognize peace agreements reached between Israel and the PA. Hamas has also rejected the existence of the Holocaust, calling it "a lie invented by the Zionists." It reportedly has not allowed the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which established schools in Gaza, to teach children about the Holocaust in their history classes.

Certain extreme sectors within Palestinian society feel that acknowledging the tragedy of the Holocaust would distract from the occupation. Accordingly, Barhoum said the official visit to Auschwitz came "at the expense of a real Palestinian tragedy." Hamas´ denial of the Holocaust has been encouraged by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called the Holocaust "a myth."

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