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Polish president says Israel must make first move to resolve crisis

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 15.03.2019 13:50
Israel must make the first move to resolve a crisis with Poland over World War II history, the Polish president has told The Jerusalem Post.
President Andrzej Duda. Photo: PAP/Leszek SzymańskiPresident Andrzej Duda. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

Speaking in an interview with the Israeli newspaper, President Andrzej Duda was quoted as saying: “The side that started the crisis should also finish it.”

Asked if that would be Israel, Duda said, according to The Jerusalem Post: “Yes. I expect friendship and respect. On both sides.”

His comments came a month after tensions flared between Poland and Israel over comments reportedly made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a conference on the Middle East in Warsaw.

After a briefing with reporters, Netanyahu was quoted as saying that “the Poles cooperated with the Nazis” to kill Jews during the Holocaust, The Jerusalem Post reported on its website on Friday.

Netanyahu’s reported comments were seen as suggesting Polish complicity in the Holocaust.

But Netanyahu’s office said at the time that the Israeli prime minister “spoke of Poles and not the Polish people or the country of Poland. This was misquoted and misrepresented in press reports and was subsequently corrected by the journalist who issued the initial misstatement.”

The spat escalated when days later Israel’s interim foreign minister claimed that Poles “imbibed anti-Semitism with their mother’s milk.”

That remark by Israel Katz sparked widespread calls for an apology. Poland pulled out of a regional summit scheduled for February 18-19 in Jerusalem.

President Duda on Thursday outlined a path for how the crisis can be resolved, The Jerusalem Post reported.

It quoted the Polish president as saying: “I hope that we will be able to solve this through diplomatic channels and goodwill between the two sides.”

Duda also said in the interview that he “will never agree with statements that Poles as a nation participated in the Holocaust or [that] Poland participated in the Holocaust.”

“It humiliates us and hurts us,” he was quoted as saying.

“Not Poles as a nation or Poles as a society, as a state or as an institution,” Duda elaborated, according to The Jerusalem Post. “‘Some people’ is true. There were some people on this occupied territory. Some Poles. Some people who were vile.”

While Duda said the crisis between Israel and Poland lingers, ties with the Jewish community remain strong, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The US State Department in February called for dialogue between Poland and Israel amid tensions between the two key American allies, according to a report.

The prime ministers of Poland and Israel in the middle of last year signed a joint statement to end a months-long dispute over an anti-defamation law that soured bilateral ties.


Source: jpost.com

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