Hamas Embracing Holocaust Denial

The UN Relief and Works Agency, which oversees assistance to Palestinian refugees, was considering the idea of including a unit on the Holocaust in history lessons to Palestinian schoolchildren. It seems like a good idea to me that, among other things, might help the kids better understand the context for their current situation. Hamas leaders, however, are having none of it:

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,” al-Astal wrote in a statement. […]

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.

Israeli officials are using this argument as a pretext for why western governments shouldn’t reconsider their attitudes to dealings with Hamas. Meanwhile, the actual situation in Gaza is incredibly dire. As Brian Katulis, Marc Lynch, and Robert C. Adler wrote for CAP in July:


In the six months since unilateral ceasefires by Israel and Hamas were announced on the eve of President Obama’s inauguration, the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip have suffered from shortages, including basic medicines and services. In early March, the International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza that was held in Egypt raised a total of $4.4 billion in pledges from the international community for the Palestinian Authority. But stringent import restrictions imposed by Israel and the continued divisions among Palestinian factions have impeded these funds from delivering much benefit to Palestinians.

A recent ICRC report emphasizes that the Israeli blockade has pushed unemployment to over 40 percent, while depriving the population of regular access to running water, to say nothing of proper medical. They warn that tens of thousands of children are going malnourished due to “deficiencies in iron, vitamin A and vitamin D.” The indifference of both the Israeli government and the Hamas leadership toward the practical aspects of this humanitarian crisis is truly appalling.