"BERLIN — Berlin police have opened a preliminary investigation against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas over his comments this week that Israel has 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.
Scholz on Thursday in a phone call with Prime Minister Yair Lapid condemned the inflammatory comments made by Abbas.
Scholz told Lapid that it was important for him to personally emphasize to the prime minister his condemnation of Abbas’s claims.
'Keeping alive the memory of the civilizational rupture of the Shoah is an everlasting responsibility of this and every German government,' said Scholz, according to Berlin’s readout of the conversation."
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