Berlin police confirmed a report Friday by the German daily Bild that they have opened a preliminary investigation against Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas over his shocking comments this week that Israel had committed “50 Holocausts” against Palestinians.
The remarks, during a news conference in Berlin alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, rightfully sparked outrage in Germany, Israel and beyond. A formal criminal complaint ensued, and now Abbas is being investigated for possible incitement to hatred.
Downplaying the Holocaust is a criminal offense in Germany, but the opening of an 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.