Warsaw calls in Israeli chargé d’affaires amid tensions over new Polish bill

The chargé d’affaires of the Israeli embassy in Warsaw was on Monday called in by the Polish foreign ministry amid bilateral tensions over a new bill adopted by Polish deputies.

Paweł Jabłoński.

Paweł Jabłoński. Photo: PAP/Piotr Nowak

A Polish deputy foreign minister insisted that bill does not refer to the Holocaust, despite claims by critics in Israel who say the move by Poland will make it more difficult for Jews to recover property seized by the country’s Nazi German occupiers in World War II.

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński said that the Israeli chargé d’affaires, Tal Ben-Ari Yaalon, “did not provide any new information” when called in on Monday.

Poland’s lower house of parliament on Thursday passed a draft bill introducing a statute of limitations on claims for the restitution of property, drawing a furious response from Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who labelled it a „disgrace,” the Reuters news agency reported.

The legislation would implement a ruling in 2015 by Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal that there should be a deadline after which faulty administrative decisions can no longer be challenged. The law sets this deadline at 30 years, Reuters added.

Jabłoński said the Polish bill does not refer to the Holocaust.

‘Anti-Polish’ attitudes

He told reporters that the political discourse in Israel “is dominated by attitudes that are either critical of Poland, or even simply anti-Polish.”

He added: „Many politicians in Israel believe that it is profitable for them to ramp up a dispute with Poland, because thanks to this they can gain greater support in domestic politics.”

Israel, meanwhile, summoned Polish ambassador Marek Magierowski on Sunday to express its „deep disappointment” over the Polish bill, which critics say will make it harder for Jews to recover property seized by the country’s Nazi German occupiers during World War II and then kept by post-war communist rulers, Reuters reported.

Poland’s foreign ministry said last week the new rules would not prevent people from being able to launch civil lawsuits in order to seek compensation. It added that Poland was not responsible for the Holocaust, which was carried out by the Germans who occupied the country during World War II.

The foreign ministry added in a statement: “The introduction of time limits for challenging administrative decisions will also lead to the elimination of fraud and irregularities, which occurred on a large scale in reprivatisation cases.”

(pk)

Source: PAP/IAR/Reuters

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