WASHINGTON (Oct. 10)
Poland is willing to resume diplomatic relations with Israel if the Jewish State is willing to make concessions on the occupied territories within a year, according to Polish Communist Party leader Edward Giereck. His statement to a selected group of American correspondents at a breakfast meeting here yesterday echoed remarks of Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in his address at the United Nations General Assembly Sept. 24.
Giereck, here on a visit to President Ford, told the reporters, in response to questions at Blair House where he has been staying, that Poland considers Israel a sovereign state and it should remain one. But, he declared, Israel must come to terms with the Arabs or otherwise the Middle East will continue to be a powder keg.
Noting that his government believes Jews should have a homeland and that Poland voted for the creation of Israel as a State in the United Nations, the First Secretary of Poland’s Communist Party went on to state that Poland continues to maintain this view. He felt it was unfortunate that Poland and Israel do not now have diplomatic relations but said he did not exclude the possibility that resumption could take place within a year if Israel made concessions on the lands it occupied in the Six-Day War.
IN KEEPING WITH USSR POLICY
Several of the newsmen who were present received the impression that Giereck was seeking to preserve Poland’s established position on the Arab-Israeli dispute in keeping with Soviet foreign policy to which it adheres, while trying to cast a glow of sweet reasonableness to a sophisticated American audience on Israel’s sovereignty and survival.
Poland followed the Soviet Union in breaking relations with Israel as a result of the Six-Day War. It is presumed in diplomatic circles here that Poland doubtlessly will continue to follow the Soviet lead. Therefore, they said, Giereck’s remarks square with Gromyko’s. Some conjecture-also exists over whether the Soviet and Polish comments constitute diplomatic bait for Israel to withdraw from more territory in concert with the American initiative in the same direction.
Conjecture also exists as to why the Polish government has decided to announce recently that it will refurbish the only remaining synagogue in Warsaw that is literally falling apart One version is that Poland, in a gesture of sympathy. is seeking to help the remnant of 7000 Jews of the once 3.5 million who lived in that country 40 years ago. Another version is that Poland. like some other Communist countries is seeking to impress the West with its religious tolerance and is using the synagogue both as an example of its good will and a tourist attraction.