Poland recalls envoy to Israel amid spat over Holocaust restitution law

Poland has recalled its ambassador to the Israeli-occupied territories two days after Tel Aviv did the same, amid a row over a Polish law restricting World War II-era property restitution claims.

In a statement released on Monday, Poland’s Foreign Ministry said that its envoy, Marek Magierowski, who is in his home country on vacation, would not be returning to Tel Aviv.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs informs that the Polish Ambassador to Israel will remain in the country (Poland) until further notice,” it said, adding that the move came in response to the “recent unjustified actions of … Israel, including the unfounded decision to lower the level of diplomatic relations” and “unacceptable statements” by the regime’s minister of foreign affairs Yair Lapid, among others.

The ministry also said that an embassy worker will temporarily manage the mission for the time being and that a decision on the level of diplomatic representation in Tel Aviv will be made “in the coming days.”

On Saturday, Polish President Andrzej Duda signed into law a measure that sets a 30-year limit on the ability of Jews to recover property confiscated by Nazi German occupiers and retained by post-war communist rulers.

Warsaw says the legislation will bolster legal certainty in the property market, but opponents say it is unjust to Holocaust survivors and their families.

Speaking on Sunday, Lapid denounced the law as “antisemitic and immoral” and recalled Israel’s charge d’affaires to Warsaw for consultations for “an indefinite period of time.”

Additionally, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett slammed the legislation as “shameful,” and said it showed “disgraceful contempt for the Holocaust’s memory.”

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki took to Facebook to say that he had decided to provide safe transport back to Poland for the children of Ambassador Magierowski amid “an increased hatred of Poland and Poles” in the occupied territories.

Israel’s decision to recall its charge d’affaires to Warsaw was “baseless and irresponsible,” he said, adding that the Tel Aviv regime is prioritizing “party interests.”

“No one who knows the truth about the Holocaust and Poland’s suffering during World War II can accept this way of conducting politics,” Morawiecki stressed.

Also on Monday, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski said Warsaw was considering limiting Holocaust commemoration trips that Israeli students take to his country.

“We are dealing with anti-Polish sentiment in Israel, and one of the reasons for this is the way in which Israeli youth are educated and raised,” he said in a radio interview. “This propaganda, based on hatred of Poland, seeps into the heads of young people from an early age in school.”

The Holocaust remains a highly sensitive issue among the Poles and has already triggered heated exchanges and diplomatic confrontations between Warsaw and the Tel Aviv regime several times in the past.

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