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Poland says it may withdraw from summit as row with Israel escalates

Poland says it may withdraw from summit as row with Israel escalates

In response to the "insulting" statement, Israel's ambassador to Warsaw, Anna Azari, was summoned by the Polish Foreign Ministry for the second time this week.

"Prime Minister Morawiecki told Prime Minister Netanyahu in a telephone call that Poland will be represented at the summit by Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz", government spokesperson Joanna Kopcinska said.

Warsaw and Jerusalem had a major spat previous year over a new Polish law that makes it illegal to blame the Polish nation for collaboration in the Holocaust.

The V4 summit in Israel was a planned gathering of leaders from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary.

Poland's prime minister canceled plans for his country to send a delegation to meeting in Jerusalem on Monday after the acting Israeli foreign minister said that Poles "collaborated with the Nazis" and "sucked anti-Semitism with their mothers' milk".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held secret talks with Morocco's Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in September, US news website Axios revealed on Monday.

On Sunday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki cancelled his visit to Jerusalem to attend a Visegrad Group (V4) meeting. That had followed a comment by Netanyahu last week about Polish cooperation with the Nazis.

United States Vice President Mike Pence, Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, from left, stand on a podium at a conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

The decision comes after Netanyahu was quoted as saying that "Poles cooperated with the Germans" in the Holocaust.

Netanyahu's office said he was misquoted.

"I am the son of Holocaust survivors", he said, in his first day in the new job. 'The memory of the Holocaust is not something to compromise about.

Israel's Foreign Minister Israel Katz on Sunday told a Tel Aviv-based worldwide television station that "there were many Poles who collaborated with the Nazis, and like (former PM) Yitzhak Shamir, whose father was murdered, said, "Poles suckle anti-Semitism with their mothers" milk'".

He had previously said he would not join Tuesday's gathering of central European leaders in Israel but said that no Polish officials would now attend. "You can't sugarcoat this history", he said.

Poland was occupied by Nazi Germany during World War II and lost six million citizens including three million Jews.

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.


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