Poland open to meeting with Israel after Holocaust spat
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Poland open to meeting with Israel after Holocaust spat

Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz says there are ‘no obstacles’ but ‘some things still have to be cleared up’ to end tiff over remarks by Netanyahu and acting foreign minister

Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jacek Czaputowicz, left, and Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto hold a joint press conference at the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Budapest, Hungary, February 27, 2019. (Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP)
Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jacek Czaputowicz, left, and Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto hold a joint press conference at the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Budapest, Hungary, February 27, 2019. (Zoltan Balogh/MTI via AP)

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Poland’s foreign minister said his country is open to a meeting with Israel also involving other countries from central Europe, after it pulled out of a planned high-level summit last week.

Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said Wednesday after talks with his Hungarian counterpart in Budapest that there are “no obstacles” to the meeting, although “some things still have to be cleared up with the Israeli side.”

Poland pulled out of the February 19 conference in Jerusalem after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Poles had cooperated with the Nazis during the Holocaust and Israel’s acting foreign minister referenced a quote from former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, who said that Poles “suckled anti-Semitism with their mothers’ milk.”

Netanyahu later clarified to Warsaw on his own comments, which were initially understood to have implicated all Poles in collaborating with the Nazis in killing Jews during World War II.

Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland, February 14, 2019. (AP/Michael Sohn)

The prime minister conveyed messages to Warsaw and issued a statement saying he had been misquoted: he had said “Poles,” not “the Poles,” and never implicated all Poles or the Polish nation.

On Monday, Katz refused to apologize, but said he never implied “all” Poles were anti-Semitic.

Poland was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II and six million of its inhabitants died during the conflict, including three million Jews.

Warsaw has long been at pains to state that Poland did not collaborate as a nation in the Holocaust, although individual Poles committed what the Polish ambassador to Israel recently described as “abominable crimes.”

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