Netanyahu and Morawiecki in Warsaw
Netanyahu and Morawiecki in Warsaw Courtesy

Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has cancelled a planned appearance at the upcoming Visegrad Group (V4) summit to be held later this week in Jerusalem.

Polish media outlets reported that Morawiecki spoke with Israeli Premier Binyamin Netanyahu over the phone Sunday, informing the Israeli leader that he would not be visiting Israel for the summit Tuesday and Wednesday.

Earlier on Sunday, Israel’s Kan network reported that Morawiecki had dropped out of the event, and that Poland’s delegation would instead be led by the country’s foreign minister, Jacek Czaputowicz.

The Polish government confirmed to AFP that Morawiecki would not attend the V4 summit in Israel, and would instead send Czaputowicz.

"Prime Minister Morawiecki told Prime Minister Netanyahu in a telephone call that Poland will be represented at the summit by Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz," a Polish government spokeswoman said.

The cancellation comes following a diplomatic dustup between the two nations, after Netanyahu publicly defied Poland’s much-criticized Holocaust Law, which criminalizes the phrase “Polish death camps” and outlaws discussion of collaboration by Poles with the German occupation during World War II.

During his state visit to Poland last Thursday, Netanyahu said that some Poles had collaborated with the Nazis – publicly defying the law and drawing criticism from the Polish government.

“Poles collaborated with the Nazis,” said Netanyahu in Warsaw Thursday. “See, I’m saying it. It is a fact. And I don’t know a single person who was ever sued because of it.”

Last year, Poland passed the controversial law which took effect in March 2018.

Violators of the law could face up to three years in prison.

The law drew heavy criticism from the Israeli government, with the US State Department also expressing opposition to the bill. Polish opposition parties also criticized the law, and proposed to amend the bill.