Skip to content
#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Irish Ambassador to Israel Kyle O'Sullivan.
Irish Ambassador to Israel Kyle O'Sullivan.
Image: Irish Embassy Israel via Twitter

Irish ambassador summoned to Israeli foreign ministry over Coveney comments

Minister Coveney has strongly condemned Israel in recent days, stating that the killing of children in conflict is never acceptable.
May 12th 2021, 5:07 PM 42,603 86

IRELAND’S AMBASSADOR TO Israel Kyle O’Sullivan was summoned to the Israeli foreign office earlier today, reportedly over comments made by Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney about the recent escalation in violence in Gaza. 

Intense fighting continued overnight, with Hamas and Islamic Jihad launching 300 rockets into Israel in retaliation for attacks on buildings and civilians.

The Israel Defense Forces said they responded by launching their largest strike across the Strip since the 2014 Gaza conflict, including targeting the homes of senior Hamas figures.

In a strong statement on Twitter yesterday morning, Coveney said Israel should be condemned for targeting Gaza “with such tragic consequences”. 

“Killing of children in conflict is never acceptable,” he said.

“Firing rockets from Gaza must be condemned, but so too should such a brutal response,” the minister added. “This violence must end.”

Local reports in Israel this morning stated that Ireland’s ambassador had been summoned to a meeting with the Israeli foreign office. It is reported that the meeting was in relation to comments made by Minister Coveney about the conflict.

Israeli public broadcaster Kann reported an official source stated that the foreign ministry made it clear to O’Sullivan that Coveney’s statements were ”one-sided, outrageous and completely unacceptable”.

Kyle O’Sullivan has been Irish Ambassador to Israel since 2019. The embassy has retweeted a number of statements from Minister Coveney in recent days, condemning violence on both sides of the conflict. 

Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed to The Journal that O’Sullivan was “called to the Israeli MFA” today. However a spokesperson declined to comment on reports that the meeting was called to discuss the minister’s recent comments. 

Asked on RTÉ’s Drivetime programme about the Irish Ambassador being called in and whether if he saw this as an attempt to muzzle his public comments, Coveney said if this was the case “it’s not working”. 

We have a very good ambassador in Israel and he’s outlined in very clear terms why I’ve made the statements that I’ve made, why they’re justified, why they’re consistent with international law and why Ireland has an obligation as a Security Council member and as an EU member to speak honestly and frankly about the concerns that we have.

Yesterday Minister Coveney had summoned the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Ophir Kariv to a meeting, telling him that the loss of life in Gaza due to Israeli air strikes was “completely unacceptable”. 

He told the ambassador that Israel has a duty to protect civilians and comply with international humanitarian law. He also urged the Israeli authorities to urgently take action to de-escalate the situation.

Speaking to RTÉ’s News at One today, Kariv said  Israel “never targets civilians”.

“The vast majority of people killed in Gaza are Hamas terrorists and Hamas members,” he said.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

“Unfortunately sometimes, especially in dense populated areas like Gaza some others are going in harm’s way. Israel is doing its utmost to ensure that only terrorists are being targeted.”

When asked whether Israel knows who it ultimately kills when it targets Hamas members, he replied: “Usually, yes” adding that it is “always complicated”.

He said Israel is obliged to protect its own citizens and does so “under very difficult circumstances”. The ambassador also accused Hamas of using the Palestinian people as “human shields”.

Send a tip to the author

Michelle Hennessy

COMMENTS (86)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a comment

     
    cancel reply
    Back to top