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Poland slams ‘outrageous’ remarks by Israeli envoy over help employee’s demise

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Polish President Andrzej Duda referred to as the remark “outrageous” and described the ambassador as “the biggest problem for the state of Israel in relations with Poland.” File
| Photo Credit: Reuters

A brand new diplomatic disaster between Poland and Israel has erupted following the demise of a Polish help employee in Gaza, with the Polish president on April 4 denouncing a remark by the Israeli ambassador as “outrageous” and the Foreign Ministry in Warsaw saying it was summoning him for a gathering.

A 35-year-old Polish man was amongst seven individuals who have been killed whereas delivering meals to besieged Palestinians with the charity World Central Kitchen. Israel has referred to as the incident a “mistake” that followed a misidentification. The charity said its vehicles were clearly marked.

Amid shock in Poland over the death of the charity worker, Israel’s ambassador to Poland, Yacov Livne, pushed back at what he said were attempts by the “extreme right and left in Poland” to accuse Israel of “intentional homicide within the assault.”

He said on social media on Tuesday that “anti-Semites will always remain anti-Semites, and Israel will remain a democratic Jewish state that fights for its right to exist. Also for the good of the entire Western world.”

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday called the comment “outrageous” and described the ambassador as “the biggest problem for the state of Israel in relations with Poland.”

Mr. Duda said authorities in Israel have spoken about the tragedy “in a very subdued way,” however added, “Unfortunately, their ambassador to Poland is not able to maintain such delicacy and sensitivity, which is unacceptable.”

Prime Minister Donald Tusk, while a political opponent of Mr. Duda’s, voiced a similar position.

He said Thursday that the comment was unacceptable and had offended Poles, and said that the ambassador should apologise.

The Deputy Foreign Minister was quoted in the Polish media as saying that Mr. Livne was summoned to a meeting on Friday morning.

A day earlier, Mr. Tusk published a comment on social media addressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mr. Livne saying that “the vast majority of Poles showed full solidarity with Israel after the Hamas attack. Today you are putting this solidarity to a really hard test. The tragic attack on volunteers and your reaction arouse understandable anger.”

Mr. Duda on Thursday also called for Israel to pay “applicable compensation” to the household of the help employee, Damian Soból.

Mr. Sobó had been on an help mission to Gaza for the previous six months following work in Ukraine, Morocco and Turkey.

Polish and Israeli relations have not too long ago been on the mend after a number of tough years.

Ties have been badly broken resulting from disputes over easy methods to bear in mind Polish behaviour throughout the Holocaust, when Nazi Germany occupied Poland and carried out the mass homicide of Jews.

For eight years till December, Poland had a nationalist authorities that performed down Polish participation within the German killings of Jews and centered largely on Polish help to Jews. Israel’s authorities believed that method amounted to historic distortion.

Israel additionally objected to a regulation that restricted property restitution claims, one thing that affected the heirs of Polish Holocaust victims, and recalled its ambassador in 2021 earlier than sending Mr. Livne the subsequent 12 months as ties improved.

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