WORLD / MID-EAST
Israel recalls envoy over Poland’s new WWII law
Published: Aug 15, 2021 05:43 PM
A girl holds a Polish national flag as people gather to commemorate the Warsaw Uprising in Warsaw, Poland, on Aug. 1, 2021. On Aug. 1, 1944, the Polish underground resistance, led by the Polish Home Army, began a major military operation to liberate Warsaw from Nazi occupation. The uprising, which lasted 63 days, was the largest military effort of any European resistance against Nazi Germany. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/Xinhua)

A girl holds a Polish national flag as people gather to commemorate the Warsaw Uprising in Warsaw, Poland, on Aug. 1, 2021. On Aug. 1, 1944, the Polish underground resistance, led by the Polish Home Army, began a major military operation to liberate Warsaw from Nazi occupation. The uprising, which lasted 63 days, was the largest military effort of any European resistance against Nazi Germany. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/Xinhua)

Poland's president on Saturday approved a law that will severely restrict claims on properties seized after World War II, prompting Israel to recall its envoy to Poland and brand the law "anti-Semitic."

The law sets a 30-year limit on legal challenges to property confiscations - many of them relating to Poland's once thriving Jewish community.

Since the confiscations mostly occurred during the Communist era in the aftermath of the war, the law will effectively block thousands of claims.

President Andrzej Duda told Poland's PAP news agency he hoped the new rule would end an "era of legal chaos" and "reprivatisation mafias."

The government says it will bolster legal certainty in the property market but opponents say it is unjust to people with legitimate claims, including Holocaust survivors and their families.

"Poland today approved... an immoral, anti-Semitic law," said Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.

"This evening I instructed the charge d'affaires at our embassy in Warsaw to return immediately to Israel for consultations, for an indefinite period of time," he said.

"The new Israeli ambassador to Poland, who was scheduled to depart to Warsaw, will remain in Israel for the time being," Lapid added.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett slammed the law as "shameful" and said it showed "disgraceful contempt for the Holocaust's memory."

"This is a grave measure that Israel cannot remain indifferent to," Bennett said in a statement.

AFP
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