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Abbas condemns the Holocaust but fails to convince Netanyahu

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called the Nazi Holocaust "the most heinous crime" against humanity in modern times, in an apparent bid to build bridges with Israel days after troubled peace talks collapsed.

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the overture yesterday.

He said Mr Abbas's Palestinian power-sharing deal with Hamas, which led Israel to suspend the negotiations on Thursday, put him in partnership with an Islamist group that denies the Holocaust and seeks the Jewish state's destruction.

"What I say to him very simply is this: President Abbas, tear up your pact with Hamas," Mr Netanyahu said.

Mr Abbas's message was published in Arabic and English by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA,

It coincided with Israel's annual remembrance day for the 6 million Jews killed by Nazi Germany in the Holocaust.

It included an expression of sympathy for the families of the victims.

"What happened to the Jews in the Holocaust is the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era," WAFA quoted Mr Abbas as saying at a meeting a week ago with an American rabbi.

Meanwhile, German politicians have condemned former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for saying Germans denied the existence of concentration camps. Social Democrat General Secretary Yasmin Fahimi described the comments as "repugnant".

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