Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday congratulated North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un on the occasion of his country’s “Liberation day,” amid a high-stakes nuclear standoff between Pyongyang and Washington.
“The Korean people offered the most precious sacrifices for their freedom and dignity,” Abbas said in a telegram to Kim, the PA’s official news outlet, Wafa, reported.
The US and Korea have locked horns over the hermit nation’s nuclear and missile programs, with US President Donald Trump also ratcheting up the rhetoric and promising Pyongyang “fire and fury.”
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett slammed Abbas for his comments, saying it showed the Palestinians were bereft of any moral compass.
“First Hitler, then S. Hussein, now Kim Jong-un. If you want to take a moral stand, check who the Palestinians support and do the opposite,” Bennett tweeted.
First Hitler, then S. Hussein, now Kim Jong-un.
If you want to take a moral stand, check who the Palestinians support and do the opposite.
— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) August 15, 2017
Abbas expressed his appreciation for North Korea’s “firm solidarity in support of the rights [of the Palestinian] people and its just struggle to end the occupation and establish our independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
The PA president also expressed wishes for Kim’s “health and happiness,” for North Korean “prosperity” and for the “historic relationship between Palestine and North Korea to further develop.”
In a separate statement, Abbas congratulated the leader of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, for his nation’s own Liberation Day.
He wished prosperity for the South Koreans and a development of ties with the Palestinians.
Earlier Tuesday, Kim signaled he would not launch missiles near Guam, amid sky-high friction with the US.
During an inspection of the North Korean army’s Strategic Forces, which handles the missile program, Kim praised the military for drawing up a “close and careful plan” and said he would watch the “foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees” a little more before deciding whether to order the missile test, the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency says.
Kim said North Korea would conduct the launches if the “Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean Peninsula and its vicinity,” and that the United States should “think reasonably and judge properly” to avoid shaming itself, the news agency said.
While Palestinian relations with Pyongyang have been minimal, at least at the public level, the Hamas terror group in Gaza has praised North Korea for its harsh rhetoric against Israel. In April, Hamas thanked Kim for his support of the Palestinian cause, after the latter slammed Israel for insulting its leadership.