Israel, US criticise Polish property restitution bill

Lapid declared that "Israel will not compromise on a single comma when it comes to the memory of the Holocaust." JALAL MORCHIDI/PAP

Israel and the US have criticised a bill adopted by Poland's lower house on Wednesday, since, in their opinion, it would prevent former Polish property owners, including Holocaust survivors and their descendants, from regaining their property.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid sharply criticised the bill on Twitter, saying that "I condemn the legislation which harms the memory of the Holocaust and the rights of its victims."

"Poland knows what is the right thing to do, to repeal the law," he stated.

The Polish Sejm (lower house) finally adopted on Wednesday an amendment to the Code of Administrative Procedure regarding the possibility of questioning the validity of administrative decisions concerning property restitution, among other things. In accordance with the new law, courts may consider appeals regarding administrative decisions on property only if they were made within the previous 30 years.

Lapid declared that "Israel will not compromise on a single comma when it comes to the memory of the Holocaust."

In mid-June, when the Sejm started working on an amendment, Lapid condemned the bill, saying that it was "a direct and painful attack on the rights of Holocaust survivors and their descendants."

"This is not the first time that the Poles are trying to turn a blind eye to what was done in Poland during the Holocaust," he added.

In a statement, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that the US was 'deeply concerned' about the passage by the Sejm of an amendment to the Code of Administrative Procedure restricting restitution of property confiscated during the Communist era. He also appealed to President Andrzej Duda either not to sign it into law or to send it to the Constitutional Tribunal.