Polish authorities appear to have become obsessed with establishing the “Fort Trump” permanent military base in Poland, but the US does appear to be in no hurry to make any such deployment.
Moreover, periodically there are reports that Washington has decided to place some requirements for its Polish ally, and only after fulfilling them may the base eventually be established.
Earlier in February of this year, Polish media reported that the US ambassador Georgette Mosbacher was pressuring the Polish authorities, demanding that the archives of the National Holocaust Memorial Institute in Poland be submitted to the United States for publication in exchange for the establishment of the US military base.
Despite the fact that the ambassador denied this information, this story made a lot of noise in the country and caused outrage in all Polish national-patriotic circles.
US outlet The Washington Free Beacon reported that the US Congress was considering a number of initiatives that would force the Trump administration to demand from Poland to resolve the issue of the property requests of some Jewish organizations before the United States builds a permanent military base on Polish territory.
It is worth recalling that about a year ago, Donald Trump signed Law No. 447 (“Justice for Survivors Left Without Compensation”) for returning property to Holocaust victims, giving US government support to such claims.
The Washington Free Beacon notes in its material that Polish-American negotiations are underway regarding the deployment of a permanent base of US forces in Poland, which will “counter the threat presented by Russia and Iran.”
However, in this context, the outlet notes that “many members of Congress and leading representatives of the Jewish community are lobbying behind the scenes to the Trump Administration and specifically Secretary of State Mike Pompeo” in order to link the issue of the Jewish claims with the base.
Poland is the only country in the EU that hasn’t passed the law “ordering restitution in favor of the aging Holocaust survivors and their families whose property was confiscated during World War II.”
At the same time, Poland protested against the demand, saying that its people were also victims of the Nazis, and especially the millions of Polish Jews sent to the death camps.
According to the American edition, a part of the American legislators from the Congress sees in the negotiations about Fort Trump the opportunity to exert pressure on Poland, “so that it will finally solve the issue of restitution.”
It was reported that State Secretary Mike Pompeo himself spoke about this several times during negotiations with Poland, to the satisfaction of some Jewish circles. According to sources of the outlet, the negotiations are still on-going in the State Department.
According to sources in the US Congress and in the Jewish community, Congressmen ought to block any financing for “Fort Trump” until the issue of restitution has been resolved.
One of the sources even alleged that Poland’s current actions are contributing to “anti-Semitism” in the country, and the Poles should not be allowed to have a US base on their soil until the issue was resolved.
The outlet noted that anti-Semitism is growing in Europe, but in particular it is quite strongly expressed in Poland.
The demonstrations which saw 20,000 people take to the streets on May 11th were condemned, and called anti-Semitic. They were organized in Poland by the nationalist Euro-skeptics from the Confederation Association and members of the Kukiz 15 movement.
The protest was against the adoption of Law 447 and claims by the Jewish community to return property to Holocaust victims.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki argued that the issue of compensation has already been settled, and that Poland does not intend to provide any other resitution, because the Poles were the main victims of the Second World War.
There was an alleged letter by the US State Secretary and the White House, in which congressmen are urged to exercise pressure on Poland to restitute property.
The draft letter states that Poland has repeatedly rejected previous calls on this issue, and after the war, the communist authorities nationalized the property of both Jews and non-Jews, who now cannot get their former property back or receive compensation.
According to one of the anonymous sources from the Jewish community who worked on this problem “the Congress is upset by the uncompromising position of Poland.”
He further warned that Poland in this matter should not test its relations with the Jewish community and Israel. In a veiled manner, warning that this would potentially jeopardize relations between Washington and Warsaw.
“If they don’t want to listen to us Jews, they will be forced to listen to us Americans,” the source claimed.
The translation of the Washington Free Beacon article was published by many Polish media outlets, and the material provoked a strong reaction in Polish society.
The leader of the Polish People’s Party Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz addressed the government of the country with the request: “Is it true that in order for Fort Trump to be constructed, the claims by the Jewish community must be fulfilled?”
“We do not request anything from anybody, and we will not pay any claims, because everything that had to be settled, was settled. Poland suffered heavy losses during the Second World War. It was the victim of the Second World War and was invaded on the one side by Nazi Germany, and on the other by Stalin’s Soviet Union,” he said.
According to the right-wing party Kukiz 15, its deputy head Tomasz Rzymkowski said that the US approach calls for a rethinking of the urgency of “Fort Trump.”
“300 billion dollars is the sum of four times the Polish state budget. For this money, we could solve the issue of our security in a different way, and even hire a whole Russian army. If the American side treats us like this, then we must ask ourselves the question if it is worth it. I do not remember that any of our allies throughout the history of Poland demanded such a payment for military support. Does the international situation really require us to go into debt for generations?” he said.
The head of Kukiz 15, Paweł Kukiz said:
“I get the impression that the government is trading these claims, thinking of Fort Trump, but if Fort Trump costs Poland $330 billion, because Jewish organizations demand that much for property that was lost during the Holocaust. Property which was plundered and destroyed by the Germans, what is this Fort Trump supposed to protect? Empty land?”
It should be noted that the Polish authorities officially denied any connection between the construction of the American military base with compensations for properties lost during the Holocaust. Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak stated that the Fort Trump project was in no way connected with “Law 447”, accusing opposition politicians of “trying to connect American law with negotiations to the detriment of Polish interest.”
Naturally, pro-government media saw “the hand of Moscow” in the entire situation:
“This is a powerful operation of Moscow […] Today we see an incredibly high participation of the Russian side. The Kremlin seeks to fuel the topic as soon as possible,” said Tomasz Sakevich, editor-in-chief of the Gazeta Polska.
The topic was raised with the aim of advertising one of the parties, which is clearly pro-Russian – the Confederation. The question was put forward just when the agreement on the increase of American troops in Poland was on the table,” further claiming that it was a success of “Russian activity.”
At the same time, the Kremlin, in the opinion of pro-government journalists, is using all means possible to prevent the construction of “Fort Trump” in Poland:
“Ecologists” are sounding the alarm that trees will be cut out because of “Fort Trump”. Old generals are repeating claims regarding unnecessary irritation of Russia. Open Dialogue (a Georgi Soros foundation), which allegedly also has Russian ties, seeks to overthrow a government that wants close cooperation with the Americans. The new citizens of Uyarowo threaten that with the help of America the Jews will rob the country. When the Kremlin loses influence in Poland, it launches its instruments of influence, from full-time agents to naive, useful idiots,” the Gazeta Polska writes in an article.
Under US President Donald Trump, it would appear that US-Poland relations had a true renaissance, but it would appear that if the claims of the US trying to push Jewish interests forward turn out true, all of the “work” is in jeopardy.
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