A Hamas spiritual leader called teaching Palestinian children about the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews a "war crime," rejecting a suggestion that the United Nations might include study of the Holocaust in the Gaza Strip's school curriculum.
A senior Israeli official said such statements should make the West think twice about ending its boycott of Hamas, in place since the group took control of Gaza in 2007. Israeli officials called the comments "obscene" and said they place Hamas in a pariah club of Holocaust deniers that includes the Iranian president.
Hamas spiritual leader Yunis Astal lashed out after hearing that 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," Astal wrote.
"I say this issue is a war crime, because of how it serves the Zionist colonizers and deals with their hypocrisy and lies," he wrote.
A U.N. official said no decision has been made about introducing the Holocaust to Gaza's curriculum. Three teachers at U.N. schools said that according to a new lesson plan, basic information about the Holocaust was expected to be taught to eighth-graders.