I will never accept Poles being insulted or humiliated: President

Polish President Andrzej Duda said in an interview with the Israeli “Jerusalem Post” daily that Israel has to take the first step to resolve the crisis between Warsaw and Tel Aviv.

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“The side that started the crisis should also finish it,” the President said confirming that he means Israel. “I expect friendship and respect. On both sides,” he stressed.

“I hope that we will be able to solve this through diplomatic channels and goodwill between the two sides,” President Duda told “Jerusalem Post.

Poland’s head of the state said that he understands that Israel is going through an electoral campaign, but added that “we have to remember that there are some things that are more important.”

The President said that the crisis in the Polish-Israeli relations bothers him. “I believe that the relations between Israel and Poland are generally good.”

He added that Poland considers itself to be friends with Israel and “we try to make sure Israel feels this relationship on many different international levels starting in the EU and how we vote in the European Parliament and to our position on the UN Security Council where we are still a non-permanent member,” he said.

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President against defamation

“I am the president of Poland, and I will never accept Poles being insulted or humiliated or facts being distorted that hurt our dignity,” the President declared. “I will never agree with statements that Poles, as a nation, participated in the Holocaust, or Poland participated in the Holocaust,” he added.

Poland’s president agreed that there were some Poles who were involved in the process of mass genocide of Jews. “[Stating] ‘Some people’ is true. There were some people on this occupied territory. Some Poles. Some people who were vile,” he emphasised.

Andrzej Duda was also asked about the law introducing fines and prison sentences of up to three years for anyone who blamed Poland for crimes committed during WWII, which was adopted in early 2018. After the wave of criticism, the bill was amended in May 2018.

“It was our will to fight for only the truth to be in the public space,” the President said. “So actually, the whole point was this term that I hate – ‘Polish death camps’ and ‘Polish concentration camps’ – to eliminate it from the public space.”