Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sent a personal message to Kim Jong-un wishing him "all health and happiness" on North Korea's independence day, 15 August. Abbas thanked him for the North Korean regime's support to the Palestinian cause.

Both Palestine and North Korea are known to have long-standing relations since the time of Kim Il-Sung and Yasser Arafat. In the past, North Korea had provided aid to Palestinians.

"The Korean people offered the most precious sacrifices for their freedom and dignity," Abbas said in an official letter to Kim and the message was carried by the state-run Palestinian news agency Wafa as well. He recalled the Korean struggle against Japan during 1910-45.

Abbas thanked Kim for North Korea's "firm solidarity in support of the rights of our people and the just struggle to end the (Israeli) occupation".

"The Korean people continued stability and prosperity; and that the historical friendly relations between Palestine and North Korea and their two peoples will continue to develop and grow," added the Palestinian leader. Abbas also penned a separate letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the anniversary.

Abbas' letter prompted sharp condemnation from Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett. "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," the Israeli minister wrote on Twitter.

Abbas' letter to the North Korean leader has come at a time when tensions are escalating in the Korean peninsula due to repeated threats from Pyongyang.

North Korea and Palestine
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claps with military officers at the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in an unknown location in North Korea in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News AgencyKCNA via Reuters