German Police Investigate Abbas’ Holocaust Comments

President Mahmoud Abbas' remarks that Israel has committed '50 Holocausts' against Palestinians are under preliminary investigation in Germany for possible incitement to hatred

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Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, April 19, 2016.
Mahmoud Abbas.Credit: Michael Sohn, AP

Berlin police have opened a preliminary investigation against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over his comments this week that Israel had committed “50 Holocausts” against Palestinians.

The remarks, during a news conference in Berlin alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, sparked outrage in Germany, Israel and beyond.

Police confirmed a report Friday by German daily Bild that Abbas was being investigated for possible incitement to hatred after receiving a formal criminal complaint. Downplaying the Holocaust is a criminal offense in Germany, but the opening of a preliminary inquiry doesn’t automatically entail a full investigation.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry said that Abbas — as a representative of the Palestinian Authority — would enjoy immunity from prosecution because he was visiting the country in an official capacity.

Germany doesn’t recognize the Palestinian Territories as a sovereign state, a position Scholz reaffirmed Tuesday.

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