Berlin police investigate Abbas’ Holocaust comments

August 19, 2022 GMT
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, speaks during a news conference after a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, at the Chancellery in Berlin, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, that “For us Germans in particular, any relativization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.” ( Wolfgang Kumm/dpa via AP)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, speaks during a news conference after a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, at the Chancellery in Berlin, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, that “For us Germans in particular, any relativization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.” ( Wolfgang Kumm/dpa via AP)
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, speaks during a news conference after a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, at the Chancellery in Berlin, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, that “For us Germans in particular, any relativization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.” ( Wolfgang Kumm/dpa via AP)
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, speaks during a news conference after a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, at the Chancellery in Berlin, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, that “For us Germans in particular, any relativization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.” ( Wolfgang Kumm/dpa via AP)
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, left, speaks during a news conference after a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, at the Chancellery in Berlin, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, that “For us Germans in particular, any relativization of the singularity of the Holocaust is intolerable and unacceptable. I condemn any attempt to deny the crimes of the Holocaust.” ( Wolfgang Kumm/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (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 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, a position Scholz reaffirmed Tuesday.