The Ambassador of the Republic of Poland in Palestine said that the Palestinian-Polish relations are strong and historical, explaining that the relations between the two sides were not better at this stage than at any time before, noting that more efforts are being made to strengthen bilateral relations on more than one level.
The statement of the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Palestine, Przemysiaw Czyz, came during his visit to Palestine News Network PNN, where he was received by Munjed Jado, Director General of the network and Arabic-language news department editor, Alaa Hamad, who put the Polish ambassador in a picture of the network’s work and media services, as well as the obstacles facing the independent Palestinian media. Whether in terms of occupation practices, internal division, or the effects of the pandemic on the Palestinian media.
Przemysiaw Czyz told PNN that the Palestinian-Polish relations have never been better. It is worth remembering that Poland officially recognized the Palestinian declaration of independence in 1988. We are in the group of countries that officially recognize and support Palestinian statehood Czyz said.
He also added: “Both countries have a long tradition of cooperation and close contact. The first PLO embassy was opened in Warsaw in the 1980s. At that time, many Palestinians also studied in Poland adding that the Polish mission in Ramallah is younger but anyway has been in operation for over 15 years”.
Our current bilateral relations are very promising. Palestinian Minister of Agriculture has just visited POLAGRA food fair in Poznań – the biggest commercial event of this kind in our part of Europe. Despite the constraints of the pandemic, it was accompanied by a group of Palestinian exporters.
He added: “I hope that in a few months we will be able to buy Palestinian olive oil in Warsaw. Agriculture is what unites our countries. Palestinians have an agricultural culture similar to the Polish one. You don’t use the land, but you grow out of it. It brings us closer”.
As part of the EU twinning program, Poland supports the strengthening of the Palestinian control and audit administration. We are trying to support those activities that directly contribute to the building of a Palestinian state. We are thinking seriously about similar cooperation within the framework of customs services and civil defense the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland said.
Projects and activities to support Palestinians in several Palestinian cities
During the interview, the Polish ambassador talked about the support provided by his country to Palestine and said, Polish aid is visible in Palestine from Hebron to Nablus. This year, we launched a two-year aid plan to increase the quality and efficiency of medical services and access to them among residents of the West Bank who, due to their place of residence (the so-called “C zone”), have limited access to basic health services. Our main aid operator – the Polish Foundation for International Aid has an ambitious plan to modernize 30 patient admission points and launch a mobile clinic in the Jenin governorate.
In addition, we are traditionally in Hebron, where this year we will open a kindergarten in the old town and in Gaza, where we are helping to rebuild a primary school after the last bombings and supporting Palestinian fishermen he said.
Scholarships for Palestinians
Poland offers many opportunities to study and I must say that, apart from the weather, Poland is an excellent choice for university studies.
The Ignacy Lukasiewicz Scholarship Programme is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange. It offers to undertake tuition-free 2nd cycle studies (Master’s degree studies) at public universities in Poland, preceded by a preparatory course in the following areas of study: engineering and technical sciences, agricultural sciences, sciences, and natural sciences.
The Polish ambassador express his personal happiness that a group of Palestinian students is just starting their studies in Poland and he hope that there will be more of them in next year’s edition of this program adding that Palestine is given high priority in this program.
By the way, the patron of the Programme is Ignacy Łukasiewicz, an outstanding Polish inventor, pioneer of the oil industry, and the one who invented the kerosene lamp in the XIX century.
There are many other scholarship programs. Nowadays, all information is on the Internet. You can also find them on the official website of our mission.
We support Palestine politically
But equally important is Poland’s political support for Palestine. we belong to Palestine-friendly countries and consistently believe that the Palestinian people have the right to live in their own country. In Poland, we know well what it means to live under the occupation Polish ambassador said.
Poland disappeared from the map of Europe for 123 years, but nevertheless, the nation survived and never stopped fighting for its rights and its future. When I tell Palestinian students the history of Poland and our numerous uprisings during the occupation, I see that I do not need to explain anything deeply. Europe also once called Poles eternal rebels and terrorists. We also know what it means to live in a diaspora.
We have a proverb: “sure you won’t break your head through the wall, but keep trying”, Both our nations have a lot in common indeed Przemysiaw Czyz Explained.
Palestinians in Poland are ambassadors of the Arab world
Relationships between people are the most important. Many Palestinians have lived in Poland for years. They are highly respected members of society. In the seventies and eighties, many Palestinians studied in Poland. At the request of the PLO, Poland established a study program for Palestinian students who did not have this opportunity in Palestine. In the eighties it was the Palestinians who were the avant-garde and kind of informal ambassadors of the Arab world in Poland. Let’s remember that until 1989 Poland was behind the iron curtain in the Soviet bloc. But even that didn’t stop the people, so they got to know each other better. There were many mixed marriages. Some of them stayed in Poland, but a large part moved to Palestine.
Therefore, even 20, 15 years ago we had quite a lot of Poles in the West Bank and in Gaza, and in many homes, Polish was heard. Now we are seeing the opposite trend. Due to the political and economic situation, Polish-Palestinian couples are returning to Poland, especially those from Gaza. We welcome them warmly, of course, but it is clear it is not so easy to leave home after 30 years and build a new life anew.
The border crisis and the activity of some immigration mafia
during the interview, the Polish ambassador warned the Palestinian people in general and in the Palestinian camps in the Arab countries in particular, against the spread of the phenomenon of the immigration mafia to Europe through the Lithuanian-Belarus border, where these mafias take large sums of money from Arab citizens in Iraq and Syria and promise them a life of luxury In Europe and eventually find themselves on the borders of Poland in refugee camps.
The Polish diplomat explains this topic a bit saying:” For several weeks, we have been observing increased attempts to illegally cross the Polish-Belarusian border. Similar attempts are made at the Lithuanian-Belarus border. Suddenly, many people, especially from Iraq, but not exclusively appeared on the territory of the Belarusian regime. And this is very strange because unlike the crisis of previous years, you cannot get from the Middle East to Belarus on foot. It turned out that these desperate people are flown mainly from Iraq for money. And we are sure this is an organized mafia-style action that the Belarusian regime is trying to exploit politically.
He noted that such a “service” costs about USD 15,000 per person and then they are transferred to the EU border where many of them have been stuck. Polish border guards won’t let them in and Belarusian soldiers won’t allow them to retreat.
We regard this situation as a wider effort by the Belarusian government to create a pan-European migration crisis as a way of exerting pressure on the EU. It is sad to say, but the Belarusian regime, which repeatedly violates human rights and keeps innocent people in prisons, simply uses migrants as tools and most probably a source of profit.
Poland and the EU are determined to keep migratory flows under control and the EU’s borders protected. That is why we took a number of diplomatic and communication efforts to point out to the governments and societies that they can fall victim to instrumentalization by Lukashenko’s aggressive policy.
Fortunately, not only the EU reacts to these events, we are very grateful to the Iraqi authorities for suspending all flights to Minsk. Collective action brings better results.
So far, this problem does not concern the Palestinians, but it is definitely worth warning people, especially in refugee camps, not to fall for the promises of easy transfer to the EU for money through the “Belarusian trail”. This road goes nowhere.