Tel Aviv: Poland withdrew from Visegrad Summit in protest against Israeli government’s statements about World War II

A Visegrad summit expected to take place in Israel on Monday was called off after a serious diplomatic row broke out between the Polish and Israeli Governments. The Polish government condemned the acting Israeli Foreign Minister, Yisrael Katz, over his inappropriate comments about Poland’s relations with the Nazi German regime during World War II. The acting Israeli foreign minister claimed on Sunday that the Polish people have an inclination towards antisemitism and this is proven from their collaboration with the Nazi German regime during World War II.

The Israeli acting foreign minister’s statements came only days after last Thursday’s incident with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. During his visit to Poland, the Israeli leader argued that the Polish people collaborated with the Nazi Germans during the Holocaust. Hours later, the Israeli Prime Minister publicly admitted that the media misquoted his statements and that only a fraction of the Polish population took part in Nazi atrocities. In response to these statements, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki withdrew his delegation from the Visegrad summit. The Polish Foreign Ministry also summoned the Israeli Ambassador in Warsaw, Anna Azari for deliberations.

The Central European summit was expected to assume operations on Monday between the Visegrad group of countries and Israel. The Visegrad group represents a political alliance of four central European states, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Despite the summit’s cancellation, the Israeli Prime Minister is expected to hold bilateral meetings with the Czech, Hungarian and Slovak counterparts.

This is a new episode in the longstanding diplomatic row between Israel and Poland over the Holocaust. Polish legislators issued a decree last year incriminating the phrase Polish death camps with three-year imprisonment sentences. After international outcry, Poland repealed the sentencing part of the law.

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