PM describes Israeli diplomatic downgrade as "irresponsible"

Aleksander Koźmiński/PAP

Poland's Prime Minister has said that the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs' decision to lower the rank of its diplomatic representation in Warsaw is "unfounded and irresponsible."

Mateusz Morawiecki added that comments made by Israel's foreign affairs minister, Yair Lapid, "arouse the indignation of every honest person."

In response to a property restitution bill signed by Polish President Andrzej Duda on Saturday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said a new Israeli ambassador would not be sent to Warsaw and suggested Poland's Ambassador to Israel does not return to his posting.

The key change in the new bill is that after 30 years of an administrative decision - applying among others to properties - it will be impossible to contest it.

Lapid called the bill "anti-Semitic and immoral" and announced he would recall the Israeli charge d'affairs from Warsaw for "indefinite consultations."

Morawiecki wrote on his Facebook page that, "nobody who really knows about the Holocaust could agree to such a means of conducting policy.

"Exploiting that tragedy for the needs of party interests is shameful and irresponsible," he wrote. "If the Israeli government still wants to attack Poland in this way, it will also have a very negative influence on our relations - both bilaterally and those on international forums."

"Poland has for many years been falsely accused by Israeli politicians of complicity in the Holocaust," the post continued. "There will never be our agreement to that, we will always defend Poland's good name. We will also never allow the instrumental exploitation of the memory of millions of Poles and Polish Jews killed by the Germans for today's political interests, to build party support in internal politics, to evoke the aversion and hatred of part of Israeli society to Poland," Morawiecki wrote.

He went on to express "great opposition" to the "attack" on Polish Ambassador to Israel Marek Magierowski, who he wrote had done a great deal of work over three years towards building good relations between the two nations.

"The consequence of recent aggressive actions of the Israeli government is a growth in hatred towards Poland and Poles in that country. Among other things, for this reason I have taken the decision to safely transport our ambassador's children to Poland. Poland will never leave its diplomats in need," Morawiecki added.