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Polish FM says Holocaust bill spat with Israel a ‘misunderstanding’

Poland’s foreign minister says the diplomatic dispute with Israel over a Holocaust bill adopted by the Polish parliament is rooted in misunderstanding but he does not rule out amending it, even after it is signed into law.

The legislation, which still needs the president’s signature to take effect, was introduced by Poland’s governing right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party to stop people from describing Nazi German death camps as Polish, simply due to their geographical location.

It would make it a crime to accuse the Polish state of complicity in the Holocaust.

Poland’s Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz rules out that possibility, saying under “Polish law and the legal system, this is impossible and we want to share this knowledge with our partners in Israel.”

According to Czaputowicz, critical comments made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the Polish bill are “due to a misunderstanding.”

“I think it’s a problem of interpretation, of over-interpretation on the Israeli side,” he says, adding that “we can also imagine some kind of amendment (of the legislation) if our explanations will not be convincing.”

Israel’s ambassador to Poland Anna Azari, however, tells the Polish PAP news agency that Israel believes the bill could open the door to prosecuting Holocaust survivors for their testimony should it concern the involvement of individual Poles allegedly killing or giving up Jews to the Germans.

— AFP

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