On Saturday, President Duda approved an amendment to Poland's property restitution law, throwing the already strained Polish-Israeli relations into a full-blown crisis. Angered by Poland's decision, Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced it will recall its top diplomat from Warsaw.
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The Israeli Foreign Ministry, headed by Yair Lapid, announced on Saturday its decision to recall the country’s charge d'affaires from Warsaw, adding that a new ambassador to Poland won’t be named either. It also "recommended" that the Polish ambassador to Israel, Marek Magierowski (currently on leave in Poland), not return to Israel.

The information appeared on the Foreign Ministry’s Twitter account shortly after the Polish president signed an amendment to the Code of Administrative Procedure, passed by the parliament’s lower house on August 12.

Poland amends law limiting property restitution claims

The amendment is setting a 30-year moratorium on outstanding claims for property seized during WWII and the communist era. In practice, it means that it will no longer be possible to challenge an administrative decision regarding the loss of property or the change of its owner after 30 years since the decision had been issued.

"Israel’s decision to lower the rank of the diplomatic representation in Warsaw is groundless and irresponsible, and the words of Yair Lapid raise the outrage of every honest person" – Poland’s Prime Minister Morawiecki wrote in a statement on Facebook. "If the Israeli government continues to attack Poland in this way, it will have a very negative impact on our relations – both bilateral and those in the international arena".

The Prime Minister also expressed his "great objection" to the "attack" on Marek Magierowski, Poland’s current ambassador to Israel. According to PM Morawiecki, Mr Magierowski has been doing a "tremendous job" for years, maintaining and building good relations between the two countries. The ambassador's children are to be offered a "safe transport" back to Poland by the Polish government.

Recent aggressive actions of the Israeli government will only increase hatred towards Poland and Poles- claims PM Morawiecki.

PM Morawiecki: „The new law restores fundamental justice in Poland"

Prime Minister Morawiecki also used the opportunity to defend the new amendment. In his view, the legislation will "restore fundamental justice and the rule of law in Poland".

"Under the new legislation, anyone who has lost property has the right to demand compensation - but cannot demand that other people be deprived of the roof over their heads" - writes the Prime Minister. Earlier, he recalls the controversy surrounding the issue of the so-called "wild reprivatization". "Wild reprivatization has led to many human tragedies in Poland. Tens of thousands of people were thrown out of their homes, where they had lived all their lives - only because our law allowed for an unlimited 'return' of the property. What is worse, the property was often 'returned' not to the real owners or their heirs, but to criminals.

Yair Lapid responds

Shortly after PM Morawiecki’s statement appeared online, Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yair Lapid, responded to it on Twitter - The negative impact on our ties began the moment that Poland chose to begin passing laws aimed at harming the memory of the Holocaust and the Jewish people in 2018 – he wrote

- Gone are the days when Poles harmed Jews without consequence.

Today, Jews have a proud and strong country of their own. We do not fear anti-Semitic threats, and have no intention of turning a blind eye to the shameful conduct of the anti-democratic Polish government- he added.


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