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Israeli, Polish Prime Ministers Agree to Start Talks on Holocaust Law

© AP Photo / Matt DunhamIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives an address at the London Stock Exchange in the City of London, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives an address at the London Stock Exchange in the City of London, Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. - Sputnik International
TEL AVIV (Sputnik) – Israel’s PM Netanyahu agreed with his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki on launching talks concerning the new Polish bill, banning attempts to impose blame on the Poles for crimes against humanity committed by Nazi Germany during World War II, including mass murder of the Jews, Netanyahu's office said in a statement.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a telephone conversation with the head of the Polish government Mateusz Morawiecki tonight. They have agreed that the negotiation teams of the two countries will immediately launch dialogue to try and reach mutual understanding over the bill," the statement, published late on Sunday, read.

The legislation, approved by the Polish parliament’s lower house on Friday, was condemned by the Israeli leadership, accusing authors of the bill of attempting to distort historical truth.

On Sunday, Netanyahu’s office said in a separate statement that the Israeli ambassador to Poland Anna Azari and her staff would discuss the issue with the Polish leadership, including Morawiecki, President Andrzej Duda, and the parliament’s upper house later this week.

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The Polish Institute of National Remembrance called Israel’s interference in the situation around the bill, before it had even become a law, inappropriate. The new legislation does not limit scientific research and the freedom of speech, but tackles deliberate distortion of history, the institute said.

The new Polish legislation, which still needs approval of the upper house and the president to become a law, forbids any mention of participation of the Polish nation in crimes committed by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust, particularly the use of phrases like "Polish death camps," where millions of people, mostly the Jews, were slaughtered by the Nazis.

The bill prescribes up to three years in prison for attempts to link the Polish people with Nazis' crimes. The bill also bans denial of the murder of about 100,000 Poles by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) during World War II.

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