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Israeli embassy strike as Netanyahu visits Poland

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 12.06.2013 08:54
The Israeli Embassy in Warsaw will not be taking part in events marking the visit of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Poland on Wednesday due to an industrial dispute.

Benjamin
Benjamin Netanyahu: photo - EPA/ABIR SULTAN.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry trade union has demanded that Israeli Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and Israel Security Agency chief Yoram Cohen refuse to cooperate with the Prime Minister's Office on the trip to Poland, insisting the security is handled by the Israel Defence Force (IDF) in what is now a long-running dispute in embassies world-wide over pay and working conditions.

The employees at the embassy in Warsaw have been on a 'work to rule', or 'Italian strike'; as it is known in Poland, over what diplomats claim are the prohibitive costs of relocating abroad, usually with their entire families.

The staff have boycotted working on the trip to Poland today by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who will be in Warsaw for talks with Prime Minister Donald Tusk and the inauguration of a new permanent exhibition on the Holocaust in Block 27 at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in southern Poland.

Besides signing trade agreements, the Polish and Israeli governments are to issue a joint statement, “on the urgent need for progress towards a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has come through direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions”.

Netanyahu will be in Poland without the aid of embassy staff, however.

“It is rare that [foreign ministry] staff refuse to cooperate with a prime minister on the planning of international visits,” Professor Piotr Balcerowicz at Warsaw University told Polish Radio. (pg)

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