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Israel summons Poland's ambassador over WWII bill

Marek Magierowski, Polish ambassador to Israel [Wikipedia]
Marek Magierowski, Polish ambassador to Israel [Wikipedia]

Israel's Foreign Ministry summoned Polish Ambassador Marek Magierowski on Sunday to express concerns over a new law that Israelis fear would block compensation claims for World War II atrocities.

According to a written statement published, the ministry said up to 90 per cent of property restitution claims could be affected. It also commented on Warsaw's argument that Poland was in no way responsible for the Holocaust.

"This is not a historical debate about responsibility for the Holocaust but a moral debt of Poland to those who were its citizens and whose property was looted during the Holocaust and under the Communist regime," Israeli officials said.

In turn, Poland said it had summoned Israeli Charge d'Affaires Tal Ben-Ari Yaalon to a meeting set for Monday.

"We believe that unfortunately what we're dealing with here is a situation that certain Israeli politicians are exploiting for internal political purposes," Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski told Polish state broadcaster TVP.

The law, which was passed in Poland's lower house of parliament on Thursday, sets a 30-year deadline for Jews to recover property seized by Nazi German forces.

The legacy of World War II, and related Polish legislation, has previously strained ties between Poland and Israel.

Six million Poles, half of them Jewish, were killed during Nazi Germany's 1939-45 occupation of Poland during World War II.

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