Oct 21, 2021

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Poland is denying reports by Israeli media outlets on Saturday that it is temporarily suspending legislation that criminalizes any mentioning of Polish society’s culpability in the Holocaust. 

“Any law passed by the parliament and signed by the president becomes a law that comes into force according to the date mentioned in it,” clarifiedJan Kanthak, spokesperson for the Polish Justice Ministry, in a statement on Twitter.

Warsaw however, will move forward with a reported plan to send a negotiating team to Israel in an attempt to reach an understanding with Jerusalem over the controversial bill. The director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, David Rotem has dubbed the decision on Poland’s part to be a “significant achievement” for Israel, according to the Israeli outlet, Hadashot News.

“This is a significant achievement that came about after ongoing dialogue,” Rotem said. “We will continue with dialogue in order to reach understandings on the matter.”

The dialogue was pursued as early as late January, shortly after the bill’s passing in Poland’s lower house of parliament. While expressing his strong objections to the law at the time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear his intention to find a diplomatic solution over the matter, with Warsaw.

Poland, however, also faced diplomatic pressure from the United States, regarding the legislation.

“We are concerned about the repercussions this draft legislation, if enacted, could have on Poland’s strategic interests and relationships, including with the United States and Israel,” US State Department spokesperson, Heather Nauert said in a statement on January 31.

“The resulting divisions that may arise among our allies benefit only our rivals. We encourage Poland to reevaluate the legislation in light of its potential impact on the principle of free speech and on our ability to be effective partners.”

Speaking with Poland’s news agency, PAP, Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro stressed that the law must first be reviewed by the country’s Constitutional Tribunal before it can be implemented. Likewise, Polish President Andrzej Duda had affirmed the need to send the bill to the Constitutional Tribunal, upon announcing his intention to sign the bill.

“Israel noted the fact that the Polish president referred the law to the Constitutional Court for clarifications on the matter, and hopes that in the period before the verdict is, it will be possible to agree on changes and amendments to the law,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry stated at the time.