Poland summons Israeli ambassador to clarify Netanyahu comments on Poles in Holocaust

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland summoned Israel's ambassador on Friday and threatened to scupper a summit in Jerusalem after reported comments in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to accuse the Polish nation of complicity in the Nazi Holocaust. Netanyahu's office said in a statement that the prime minister, who was in Warsaw for a U.S.-sponsored Middle East conference, had been misquoted by The Jerusalem Post, which issued a corrected story

Reuters February 16, 2019 02:06:16 IST
Poland summons Israeli ambassador to clarify Netanyahu comments on Poles in Holocaust

Poland summons Israeli ambassador to clarify Netanyahu comments on Poles in Holocaust

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland summoned Israel's ambassador on Friday and threatened to scupper a summit in Jerusalem after reported comments in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to accuse the Polish nation of complicity in the Nazi Holocaust.

Netanyahu's office said in a statement that the prime minister, who was in Warsaw for a U.S.-sponsored Middle East conference, had been misquoted by The Jerusalem Post, which issued a corrected story.

In a later statement, Netanyahu's office said that in his remarks on the question of Polish collaboration with Nazi occupiers, he had not cast any blanket blame.

Poland, where sensitivities over the issue of its actions during the Holocaust are high, called in Israeli envoy Anna Azari.

The matter of Poland's conduct during the Holocaust - in which many of the six million Jewish dead were killed in Nazi camps on Polish soil - was at the centre of an Israeli-Polish diplomatic dispute last year.

After an outcry in Israel and the United States, Poland's conservative Law and Justice government backed out of legislation mandating jail terms for anyone suggesting the country had collaborated with the Nazis.

Sensitivities were tested again late on Thursday after Netanyahu answered a question about that law posed by one of the Israeli reporters who had travelled with him to Poland.

Israel's Haaretz newspaper quoted Netanyahu as saying: "The Poles collaborated with the Nazis, and I don't know anyone who was ever sued for such a statement."

Yaakov Katz, the Jerusalem Post's editor, told Reuters the account in his newspaper had used the term "Polish nation", although not in a direct quote from Netanyahu, and the story was swiftly amended to reflect what he really said.

But Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek said Warsaw wanted the matter "to be clarified unequivocally". Hours later, Netanyahu's office issued a second statement.

"In a briefing, PM Netanyahu spoke of Poles and not the Polish people or the country of Poland," the statement said.

Many Poles still refuse to accept research showing thousands participated in the Holocaust in addition to the thousands who risked their lives to help the Jews.

Commenting on Netanyahu's remarks, Polish President Andrzej Duda raised a question mark over a two-day summit in Jerusalem next week of the four central European nations - Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Duda said that if Netanyahu had said what was originally reported, "Israel would not be a good place to meet in spite of the previous arrangements". Duda offered his own presidential residence as an alternative venue.

Netanyahu has sought to use the so-called Visegrad group as a counterweight to western European Union criticism of Israel's policies towards the Palestinians.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko and Alan Charlish in Warsaw, Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem; Editing by John Stonestreet, Mark Heinrich and Frances Kerry)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.