Sunday, 26 Sep 2021 - 20 of Tishri, 5782

Israel condemns Polish President’s signing of law restricting restitution, recalls top diplomat in Warsaw

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The law signed by the Polish president 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 business seized in the communist era can no longer get compensation.

Israel has condemned Poland president’s approval of a law that restricts the rights of Holocaust survivors or their descendants to reclaim property seized by the country’s former communist regime. Jerusalem also announced it was recalling its top diplomat in protest.

The move came after Polish President Andrzej Duda signed the law, which addresses appropriations done by the communist government that ruled Poland from the end of WWII until 1989.

The law signed by the Polish president 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 business seized in the communist era can no longer get compensation.

It is expected to cut off for all time the hopes of some families — both Jewish and non-Jewish — of reclaiming property seized during that era.

Both the U.S. and Israeli governments had strongly urged Poland not to pass the law and Israel had warned it would harm ties.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called Duda’s signing of the law “a shameful decision and disgraceful contempt for the memory of the Holocaust” and said “Poland has chosen to continue harming those who have lost everything.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that he had instructed Israel’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, will remain in Israel.

In addition, Lapid said he was going to recommend that Polish Ambassador to Israel Marek Magierowski extend the vacation he is on in his country.

“He should use the time available to him to explain to the Poles what the Holocaust means to the citizens of Israel and how much we will not tolerate contempt for the memory of the victims and the memory of the Holocaust,” said the Israeli Foreign Minister, adding that Israel is in talks with the United States on a further response.

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