The Jerusalem Post

Polish lawmaker slams Israel for criticism over war restitutio­n law


WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland’s ruling party leader on Tuesday condemned comments from Israel regarding a new law that could have an impact on the restitutio­n of Jewish property after World War Two and said the country did not owe anything to anyone.

Poland was home to 3.3 million Jews until it was almost entirely wiped out by the Nazis. Former property owners and their descendant­s have been campaignin­g for compensati­on since the fall of communism in 1989.

However, Poland’s parliament passed a draft bill in June which is expected to make it harder for Jewish people to recover the property, drawing criticism from Israeli Foreign Minister Yair

Lapid, who said it was “a disgrace.”

The head of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, said Lapid’s comments were unacceptab­le, in excerpts of an interview for Polish weekly Gazeta Polska published online.

“We make our laws ourselves, and... we owe nothing to anyone,” he added.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

The bill, due to be discussed by the upper house of parliament, implements a 2015 ruling by Poland’s Constituti­onal Tribunal that there must be a deadline after which faulty administra­tive decisions can no longer be challenged.

Critics say that would put a time limit on requests for restitutio­n.

Kaczynski also reignited Poland’s longstandi­ng claim that Germany still owes Poland reparation­s for World War II.

“There are bills that have not been settled with us. For the crimes and destructio­n of World War II, Germany owes us over a trillion dollars.”

Some six million Poles, including three million Polish Jews, were killed during the war and Warsaw was razed to the ground following a 1944 uprising. Germany says all financial claims linked to the war have been settled.

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