update deskAntisemitism

German prosecutor: Abbas’s ’50 Holocausts’ remarks constitute incitement

However, prosecution is not possible because Abbas likely enjoys immunity, according to Berlin's Public Prosecutor General's Office.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas attends a meeting in the Samaria city of Ramallah, March 10, 2019. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas attends a meeting in the Samaria city of Ramallah, March 10, 2019. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.

Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas’s 2022 remarks downplaying the Holocaust constituted incitement to hatred under German law, Berlin’s public prosecutor general said on Monday, adding that the P.A. leader likely enjoys immunity against the criminal charges.

“Abbas’s immunity creates a procedural obstacle. Prosecution is therefore not possible,” the Public Prosecutor General’s Office said. However, complainants are still entitled to ask a court “whether the legal opinion of the Public Prosecutor General’s Office is correct.”

In Aug. 2022, Berlin police opened a preliminary inquiry into whether Abbas broke German laws by falsely claiming Israel had committed “50 Holocausts” against the Palestinians.

Trivializing the Holocaust is a punishable offense in Germany.

Abbas’s statement, made during a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, was in response to a question about whether he would apologize for the massacre of 11 Israeli coaches and athletes by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Summer Olympics.

“If we want to go over the past, go ahead. I have 50 slaughters that Israel committed…50 massacres, 50 slaughters, 50 Holocausts,” Abbas stated.

The Berlin public prosecutor’s office initially concluded that “there are ‘insufficient indications’ for criminal liability under Section 130 [approval, denial and trivialization of Nazi crimes].”

A spokesperson explained to JNS on Monday that “the public prosecutor’s office discontinued the proceedings, against which the complainants lodged an appeal,” following which “the Public Prosecutor General’s Office, as the authority responsible for the complaint, then investigated the matter.”

Germany’s criminal code does not apply to “representatives of other states…who are staying in the territory of application of this Act at the official invitation of the Federal Republic of Germany,” the spokesperson said.

While Berlin does not recognize a Palestinian state, “In accordance with the legal opinion of the Federal Foreign Office…there is a situation that is not directly regulated by law but is ultimately comparable,” the Public Prosecutor General’s Office claimed.

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