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'No decision made' amid reports Israel may close Dublin embassy in cost-cutting move

The Ballsbridge mission is the only embassy in western Europe that is slated for closure.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have the final decision on whether the embassy will be closed.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have the final decision on whether the embassy will be closed.
Image: Gali Tibbon/AP/Press Association Images

ISRAEL’S EMBASSY IN Dublin may be facing closure due to severe budget cuts in the country’s Foreign Ministry.

There were initially plans to shutter as many as 22 embassies and consulates around the world but that number was subsequently reduced to seven, however the Ballsbridge embassy remains on the chopping block, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Aharonoth reports.

It is the only mission in western Europe that is slated for closure. The others are embassies in Belarus, the Dominican Republic, Eritrea and, either Latvia or Lithuania, as well as consulates in Atlanta, USA, and Bengaluru, India.

If the plans go ahead the missions will be shut down over the next three years. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also Foreign Minister, will have the final say on what offices will be closed.

The move has been met with opposition in Israel amid fears it will hamper efforts to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign which seeks to put economic and political pressure on Israel.

90351277_90351277 A BDS demonstration on Jervis Street in Dublin. Source: Leah Farrell/Photocall Ireland

“No decision has been made regarding the identity of the Israeli missions that might be closed,” a spokesman for the embassy said to TheJournal.ie.

During the course of 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will compile a list of recommendations, that will then be sent to the Prime Minister for authorization.

“Only after the Prime Ministers’ approval will we know which missions might be affected. Until then we cannot make and comments on all sorts of speculations,” the spokesman concluded.

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Ireland is considered one of the leading critics in Europe of Israel’s policies in the territories.

Before the embassy opened in 1996 Ireland was the only country in the European Union without an Israeli embassy.

In 2011, Ireland accorded the Palestinian delegation in Dublin diplomatic status.

Three years later the Dáil and the Seanad passed a resolution calling on the government to recognise Palestine as a state, however that step has not yet been taken.

READ: Mike Pence says US would support two-state solution between Palestine and Israel>

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Ceimin Burke

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