Poland summons Israeli envoy over WWII claims row

Poland summons Israeli envoy over WWII claims row

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Poland said Sunday it had summoned Israel's envoy after the Jewish state slammed as "immoral" a new Polish law that experts say could block World War II restitution claims.

Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski said Warsaw would like to set the record straight about the legislation passed in parliament on Thursday.

Tal Ben-Ari Yaalon, the charge d'affaires, "has been summoned ... and we will explain to her in a decisive and factual way what it's about", Jablonski told state television TVP about the meeting due on Monday.

"We believe that unfortunately what we're dealing with here is a situation that certain Israeli politicians are exploiting for internal political purposes," he added.

The Israeli embassy in Warsaw tweeted on Thursday that "this immoral law will seriously impact relations between our countries".

It "will in effect prevent the restitution of Jewish property or compensation requests from Holocaust survivors and their descendants as well as the Jewish community that called Poland home for centuries. It's mind-boggling," the embassy said.

The bill's authors argue it is needed to bring the law into line with a 2015 Constitutional Court ruling, which found that there must be a deadline after which administrative decisions can no longer be contested.

The legislation sets the cut-off date at 10 to 30 years, depending on the case.

Poland's foreign ministry said Friday the introduction of time limits would "lead to the elimination of fraud and irregularities, which occurred on a large scale".

"The new regulations do not in any way restrict the possibility of bringing civil suits to seek damages, irrespective of the plaintiff's nationality or origin," it added.

"Poland is by no means responsible for the Holocaust, an atrocity committed by the German occupant also on Polish citizens of Jewish origin."

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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