Berlin police investigate Abbas' Holocaust comments

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.