Netanyahu and Polish Counterpart Agree to Open 'Immediate Dialogue' on Holocaust Bill

Following uproar in Israel over Polish bill that would criminalize linking Poland to Nazi atrocities, teams from both countries will try and reach agreements on the proposed bill

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (center) places candles at the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland, Saturday, January 27, 2018.
\ KACPER PEMPEL/REUTERS

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Sunday on the phone with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. The two leaders agreed to open "immediate dialogue" in an attempt to solve a crisis that erupted over a Polish bill that seeks to criminalize linking Poland to Nazi war crimes in the Holocaust.

The proposed Polish law caused a furor in Israel over the weekend after being passed by the lower house in the Polish parliament on Friday. The bill will now be debated in the upper house, after which it goes for the president’s approval.

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Former Auschwitz concentration camp, 2014.
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In their phone conversation, the two leaders agreed that teams from both countries will open "immediate dialogue" and try to reach understandings on the pending legislation.

The Israeli team will be headed by Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem.

Earlier Sunday, Polish President Andrzej Duda said that he would only pass the bill after "careful analysis of the final shape of the act.”

In a statement released by his office, Duda said the law is “aimed at preventing lies and false accusations against the Polish people and the Polish nation.” For this reason, the president’s office said, whoever criticizes the law out of concern for the truth about the Holocaust can be at ease, since “the act meets their expectations and is not contradictory to them. The search and documentation of the truth, as well as prosecution and stigmatization of lies, are concurrent actions and have the same goal.”