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Kaczynski condemns Israeli FM’s comments on property restitution bill

Paweł Supernak/PAP

Jaroslaw Kaczynski has strongly criticised statements made by the Israeli foreign minister about a proposed amendment to a Polish law that will limit the ability of claimants to seek restitution for property they lost during and after the war.

Yair Lapid, the Israeli foreign minister, wrote on Twitter that the new Polish law was “a disgrace” and would seriously harm Polish-Israeli relations.

Kaczynski, the leader of the governing United Right, who is often regarded as Poland’s most powerful politician, told the Gazeta Polska weekly that Lapid’s words are “impudent and unacceptable.”

“We make our own laws” and “we owe nothing to anyone. Not even a penny,” Kaczynski said.

“However, there are bills which have not been paid to us. For the crimes and destruction of World War II, Germany owes us over a trillion dollars,” he added.

“But by the way, it showed that our opposition believes that Poland is some kind of second-class country. If you listen to their voices, it turns out that before the Sejm of the Republic of Poland (lower house of parliament – PAP) passes a law, it should consult it at least at several places around the world and test if it meets with approval. I have a radically different view on this matter,” Kaczynski said.

Under the legislation, which was passed by the Sejm in late June, courts may consider appeals regarding administrative decisions on property only if they were made within the previous 30 years. Critics say that would put a time limit on requests for restitution.

The Israeli embassy in Warsaw also condemned the bill as “immoral” and warned it will seriously affect relations between the two countries.

The proposed amendment must also be passed by the Senate. No date has been set for a vote there.

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