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Polish PM says Israeli diplomatic downgrade 'unfounded and irresponsible'

16.08.2021 08:00
Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has described Israel's move to lower the rank of its diplomatic representation in Warsaw as "unfounded and irresponsible."
Mateusz Morawiecki
Mateusz Morawieckitwitter.com/Kancelaria Premiera

Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said at the weekend that he had instructed his country's charges d’affaires in Warsaw to return home immediately and that the new Israeli ambassador to Poland, who was scheduled to leave for Warsaw, would remain in Israel "for the time being."

The Israeli foreign ministry also said it was recommending that the Polish ambassador to Tel AvivMarek Magierowski, who is on vacation in his home country, does not return to Israel but remain in Poland.

Polish law 'immoral' and 'anti-Semitic': Israeli PM

The statement by the Israeli foreign ministry came after Polish President Andrzej Duda on Saturday signed into law legislation that introduces a statute of limitations on claims for the restitution of property, including that seized by Poland's Nazi German occupiers from Jews during the Holocaust and kept by the country's postwar communist rulers.

The new Polish law says nothing about the Holocaust or World War II; instead it establishes that any administrative decision issued 30 years ago or more can no longer be challenged, meaning that property owners who had their homes or businesses seized in the communist era can no longer get compensation, the AP news agency has reported.

It quoted Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as saying that the new Polish law was "immoral" and "anti-Semitic."

He also denounced Duda’s signing of the law as "a shameful decision and disgraceful contempt for the memory of the Holocaust.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Photo: EPA/ABIR SULTAN

'We will always defend Poland's good name': Polish PM

The Polish prime minister said on Sunday that Lapid's statement "arouses the indignation of every honest person."

"Nobody who knows the truth about the Holocaust and the suffering of Poland during World War II could agree to such a means of conducting policy,” the Polish prime minister wrote on his Facebook page.

"Exploiting this tragedy for the needs of partisan interests is shameful and irresponsible," he added.

According to Morawiecki, Poland "has for many years been falsely accused" by Israeli politicians of complicity in the Holocaust.

"There will never be our agreement to that; we will always defend Poland's good name … and we will never allow the instrumental exploitation of the memory of millions of Poles and Polish Jews killed by the Germans for today's political interests,” he wrote.

Morawiecki warned that "if the Israeli government continues to attack Poland in this way, it will also have a very negative influence on our relations, both bilaterally and internationally."

Criticism based on 'misinformation': Polish foreign ministry

The Polish foreign ministry has said the new law is not aimed at the heirs of the country's prewar Jewish citizens, and will not prevent claimants from seeking compensation for lost property through court proceedings.

It also said the criticism from Israel was based on “misinformation” about the new rules.


Source: PAP