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Poland pulls out of Israel summit in row over WW2 role

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:09s - Published < > Embed
Poland pulls out of Israel summit in row over WW2 role

Poland pulls out of Israel summit in row over WW2 role

Poland pulled out of a planned summit in Israel after Israel’s acting foreign minister said on Monday that “many Poles” had collaborated with the Nazis in World War Two and shared responsibility for the Holocaust.

Pascale Davies and Dan Williams report.

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Poland pulls out of Israel summit in row over WW2 role

Last week, Poland's Prime Minister stood alongside his Israeli counterpart in paying his respects to the victims of World War Two in Warsaw.

But their relationship took a sharp turn on Monday (18 February).

Poland pulled out of a summit in Israel this week- which has now been cancelled after Israel's acting foreign minister said Poland was complicit with Nazi Germany - and shared responsibility for the Holocaust.

(SOUNDBITE) (Hebrew) ISRAELI ACTING FOREIGN MINISTER, ISRAEL KATZ SAYING: "Poles collaborated with the Nazis, certainly, they collaborated with the Nazis." Tension between the countries escalated on Friday (15 February) after Israeli media reported remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that suggested Poland co-operated in the Holocaust..

The fallout a blow to the Israeli Prime Minister.

He sees the visegrad group- that's Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia- as key to counterbalancing western European countries, which tend to be more critical of Israel's policies toward the Palestinians and their support could be crucial to Israel's upcoming April election.

Reuters Dan Williams is in Jerusalem.

(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT, DAN WILLIAMS, SAYING: "The matter of Holocaust severities is really something of a consensus in Israel, the Jewish state, and it's been a matter of fairly protracted dispute between Israel and Poland where last year they passed a law effectively banning rhetoric that would suggest broadly of broad Polish national complicity in the Nazi genocide.

So again the question is whether your average Israeli voter cares more about Netanyahu the statesman or about the importance of the truth of the Holocaust." Many Poles still refuse to accept research showing thousands of their countrymen participated in the Holocaust in addition to thousands of others who risked their lives to help the Jews.

Poland's Prime Minister branded the remarks as "racist and unacceptable".

Israel said the three prime ministers- excluding Poland- would instead have bilateral meetings with Netanyahu this week.




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