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File photo of a woman walking past pictures of hostages in Tel Aviv, Israel. Alamy
diplomatic tensions

The Israeli reprimand of the Irish ambassador is 'totally unacceptable', Tánaiste says

A diplomatic row is intensifying over Ireland’s plans to recognise state of Palestine.


THE REPRIMAND OF the Irish ambassador to Israel after Government formally recognised the State of Palestine has been deemed unacceptable by ministers, including Tánaiste Micheál Martin.

Yesterday, Ambassador Sonya McGuinness was summoned to the Israeli foreign affairs department and shown a video of the 7 October attacks by Hamas on Israel, as a “reprimand” for the Government’s decision.

Martin, who is also the foreign affairs minister, said Israel’s actions are “no way to treat a diplomat” in their country and a “totally unacceptable”.

He added: “Most people would accept internationally that that’s not within the parameters of acceptable norms in terms of how people engage with diplomats.

“I will communicate directly to, in writing if necessary, to the Israeli foreign minister because our speeches on recognition of Palestine were balanced.”

Earlier, justice minister Helen McEntee has said that Ireland’s ambassador being strongly reprimanded by Israel over Ireland’s plans to recognise the state of Palestine was “not appropriate”.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, McEntee was responding to Israel’s condemnation of Ireland for recognising the state of Palestine, along with Spain and Norway.

“We have utterly and will continue to utterly condemn the actions of Hamas,” she said.

“Hamas is a terrorist organisation and the recognition of Palestine has nothing to do with Palestine or to do with Hamas. This is about recognising the people of Palestine. This is about bringing us, we believe closer to a peaceful solution.”

“I don’t think that was appropriate,” said McEntee, responding to a question that Ireland’s ambassador had received a “dressing down”.


Israel has hit out at Ireland and other countries for the plans. 

Yesterday, in a post on X, foreign minister Israel Katz tagged Taoiseach Simon Harris and said “Hamas thanks you for your service”.

He also said: “Ireland, if your goal is to reward terrorism by declaring support for a Palestinian state, you’ve achieved it.”

Attached to Katz’s post was a bizarre video montage of clips he purports to be of Hamas, bookmarked with videos of Irish dancing. Traditional Irish-sounding music plays in the background.

Katz earlier this week recalled Israel’s ambassadors in Ireland and Norway “for consultations” after both countries officially recognised Palestine as a state.

Taoiseach Simon Harris has taken issue with Israel’s response. 

“What I will not tolerate is any country misrepresenting the position of the Irish people,” told CNN yesterday.

He said the Government has been clear in its condemnation of the Hamas attacks against Israel on 7 October and that the hostages being held in Gaza should be released immediately and without conditions.

“But it is entirely possible to say what I have just said and also say the next bit, which sadly some refuse to say: that what is happening in Palestine, what’s happening in Gaza is a humanitarian catastrophe, that children are being starved, are being deprived of food.”

ICJ ruling due

As the the diplomatic dispute continues, so too does the war that has destroyed much of Gaza and claimed tens of thousands of lives.

Israel launched devastating air strikes on Gaza yesterday. The Gaza Strip’s civil defence agency said two pre-dawn air strikes had killed 26 people, including 15 children, in Gaza City.

As the hostilities continued, the International Court of Justice is set to rule on a plea to halt the Israeli military offensive in Gaza over accusations of “genocide”.

The ICJ, whose orders are legally binding but lack direct enforcement mechanisms, stopped short of ordering a ceasefire in an interim ruling in January but instructed Israel to do everything possible to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza.

South Africa, which filed the case later formally supported by Israel-Hamas mediator Egypt, argued the ongoing Israeli operation in Rafah should compel the UN court to issue fresh emergency orders.

The case, which Israel says should be dismissed, could add to mounting international pressure for a truce and hostage release more than seven months into the war sparked by Hamas militants’ 7 October attack.

Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor sought arrest warrants on war crimes charges against Netanyahu and his defence minister as well as three Hamas leaders.

The Gaza war broke out after Hamas’s unprecedented attack on 7 October resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Militants also took 252 hostages, 124 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 35,800 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

 With reporting from AFP, Press Association, Mairead Maguire, David McRedmond and Muiris O’Cearbhaill

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