Polish PM's aide says Israel should apologise for minister's words

2019-02-19 09:44 update: 2019-02-19, 20:10
Marek Suski. Photo PAP/Tomasz Gzell
Marek Suski. Photo PAP/Tomasz Gzell
Marek Suski, the Polish PM's aide for political affairs, said on Tuesday that Poland demands an apology after acting Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, on Monday, made a controversial comment about Poles in the context of the Holocaust.

The acting foreign minister on Sunday referred to words ascribed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in which he had mentioned that Poles had collaborated with Nazi Germans during the Second World War.

"Our prime minister expressed himself clearly," Katz said. "I am a son of Holocaust survivors (...) The memory of the Holocaust is something we cannot compromise about, it is something clear and we won’t forget or forgive. Poles collaborated with the Nazis, and as (Israeli's former prime minister - PAP) Yitzhak Shamir, whose father was murdered by Poles, said, they suckle anti-Semitism with their mother’s milk."

Marek Suski said that if such an apology did not come, then there would be a chill in relations. "Because we can't allow for being slandered on the international arena."

Senate Speaker Stanisław Karczewski, speaking on public radio on Tuesday, appealed to Israeli politicians "to refrain from their anti-Polish statements," adding that all Polish politicians care about good relations with Israel.

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk told a private broadcaster on Tuesday that the Israeli government should "distance itself from their foreign minister's statement and apologise for it."

The Polish PM's Office head Michał Dworczyk said on private radio on Tuesday that despite the recent tensions caused by "scandalous statements", Poland was still one of Israel's key partners in Europe.

After Katz's comments, Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki on Monday cancelled a Visegrad Group (V4) summit in Israel.

The regional lobby V4, which is made up of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, was slated to hold a summit in Jerusalem on Tuesday. Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was to attend the meeting. (PAP)