AP International

Poland, Israel improve ties as ambassador starts work

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland and Israel have taken a step toward normalizing diplomatic ties, the Polish president said Tuesday, as the Israeli ambassador officially presented his credentials in Warsaw.

President Andrzej Duda tweeted that he and Israeli President Issac Herzog have “agreed that it’s time to return to normal relations.”

He said the “first step” was taken when Israeli Ambassador Yacov Livne officially presented his credentials on Tuesday.

Israel expects Poland to appoint an ambassador too, and Duda said he hopes it would happen “soon.”

Relations between the two nations that share difficult history soured in recent years amid spats over Poland’s laws that were seen as whitewashing the deeds of some Poles during the Holocaust and banning claims for restitution of seized property by Holocaust victims and their relatives.

Graphic novels are displayed for sale at a bookstore in New York City on Sunday, October 8, 2023. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department releases U.S. retail sales data for September. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)
Graphic novels are displayed for sale at a bookstore in New York City on Sunday, October 8, 2023. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department releases U.S. retail sales data for September. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey)

Israel recalled its ambassador in the fall of 2020 and Poland’s ambassador to Israel was instructed to end his mission prematurely in the summer of 2021.

Ties have since improved in the wake of Israel-Polish cooperation on the Ukrainian refugee crisis following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, whose late father was a Holocaust survivor, thanked Poland for its help in rescuing Jewish refugees from Ukraine.

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