Poland cancels planned visit by Israeli officials
PR dla Zagranicy
Poland has called off a planned visit by Israeli officials, the foreign ministry in Warsaw has said amid concerns that Israel wanted talks to focus on restitution of property that once belonged to Jews.
The announcement by the foreign ministry came as Poland’s government is readying a bill to protect the country against any claims for compensation over World War II.
The foreign ministry in Warsaw said in a statement on its website: “Poland decided to cancel the visit of Israeli officials after the Israeli side made last minute changes in the composition of the delegation suggesting that the talks would primarily focus on issues related to property restitution.”
Poland’s conservative leader Jarosław Kaczyński said earlier this month that Poland had no financial obligations arising from the wartime years "in terms of the law" and “elementary morality.”
Instead, he said, over EUR 1 trillion in war reparations could be owed to his country, which suffered massive damage at the hands of Nazi Germany in World War II.
US President Donald Trump last May signed the Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act, a law under which the US State Department is expected to report to Congress on what steps countries in Europe have taken to compensate Holocaust survivors and their heirs for property seized under Nazi German occupation and communism.
Michał Dworczyk, head of the Polish Prime Minister’s Office, told public broadcaster Polish Radio earlier this month that the US law had no legal force in Poland and that “it is regrettable that some people are trying to use for political ends the fact that such a document has been adopted in the United States.”
Most of Poland’s large Jewish population was murdered by the occupying Germans during World War II.
After the war, a Moscow-backed communist government took power in Poland, confiscated large amounts of property and nationalised it. Most of the owners of nationalised property were non-Jewish Poles.