Ziad al-Bandak, an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas 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 Israel’s existence and interim peace accords reached by Abbas’s more moderate 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.
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.”
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.