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Poland downgrades ties with Israel amid tensions over restitution law

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Poland's then-ambassador to the Israeli-occupied territories, Marek Magierowski, poses for a picture in al-Quds, on October 11, 2018.

Poland has downgraded its diplomatic relation with Israel, saying it has no plans to appoint a new ambassador to the occupied territories, amid tensions over a Polish legislation that sets a limit for restitution claims for properties allegedly seized during World War II.

Last August, Poland’s Foreign Ministry recalled its ambassador to the Israeli-occupied territories, Marek Magierowski.

The ministry decided that its envoy, who was in his home country on vacation, was not to return to Tel Aviv in response to “unjustified actions” of Israel, including the unfounded decision to lower the level of diplomatic relations to the charge d’affaires level and “unacceptable statements” by the regime’s minister of foreign affairs Yair Lapid.

Magierowski has since been appointed as ambassador to Washington.

Ministry spokesman Lukasz Jasina told The Associated Press on Thursday that “there are no plans at the moment to propose a new person for the position of ambassador” to the Israeli-occupied territories.

Relations between Wasraw and Tel Aviv soured after Polish President Andrzej Duda last summer signed into law a measure that sets a 30-year limit on the ability of Jews to recover property allegedly confiscated by Nazi German occupiers and retained by post-war communist rulers.

Lapid has called the law “antisemitic and immoral” and recalled Israel’s charge d’affaires to Warsaw for consultations for “an indefinite period of time”. Poland responded by accusing Israel of “baseless and irresponsible” behavior.

Warsaw defends the law, saying it will bolster legal certainty in the property market.

The Holocaust remains a highly sensitive issue among the Poles and has already triggered heated exchanges and diplomatic confrontations between Warsaw and the Tel Aviv regime several times in the past.

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