(JTA) — Under fire for accusing Israel of “50 Holocausts,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas walked back his statement, calling the Holocaust “the most heinous crime in modern human history.”

Abbas released the statement on Wednesday through the Palestinian Wafa news agency.

He had come under sharp criticism from U.S., Israeli and German officials for accusing Israel of carrying out “50 Holocausts” against the Palestinians during a press conference in Germany on Tuesday, standing alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

A German reporter had asked Abbas whether the Palestinian Authority would apologize on the 50th anniversary of the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. The Palestine Liberation Organization, which is intertwined with the Palestinian Authority, carried out the massacre.

Abbas’ statement came after Hussein Al-Sheikh, the current PLO secretary-general had a “difficult” conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, according to Israeli reporter Noga Tarnopolsky.

Scholz drew criticism for not calling out Abbas in real time but subsequently decried the comment.


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