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Israel's Ambassador to Ireland Dana Erlich Alamy Stock Photo

Motion to be brought before Dáil on withdrawing diplomatic status of Israeli Ambassador

In the Dáil on Wednesday, there were fresh calls for Varadkar to expel the Israeli ambassador to Ireland.

TWO MOTIONS ARE to be brought before the Dáil next week regarding Israel. 

The Social Democrats will bring a motion forward on Wednesday calling on the Government to withdraw diplomatic status from the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Dana Erlich and push for the imposition of EU-wide economic sanctions on Israel. 

In the Dáil on Wednesday, there were fresh calls for Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to expel the Israeli ambassador to Ireland.

Varadkar insisted suspending the diplomatic credentials of the Israeli ambassador would hinder Ireland’s attempts to secure the release of eight-year-old Irish-Israeli girl Emily Hand, believed to be held hostage by Hamas, and secure the safe passage of other Irish citizens from Gaza.

In a statement today, Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns said: “Our motion calls on the Irish Government to lobby for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement on the grounds that the human rights clause in the trade deal has been seriously breached.

“The EU should also suspend Israel’s access to the €95 billion Horizon Europe fund for research and innovation.

“Given Israel’s failure to cease the deliberate targeting of civilians, journalists, UN staff and healthcare workers, the Government must withdraw the diplomatic status of the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland.”

The vote on the motion is expected to take place on Wednesday. It is not yet known if government will seek to amend the motion by introducing its own countermotion. 

International Criminal Court 

Sinn Féin will bring a motion forward which will call on the Government to refer to the Israeli attacks in Gaza to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation. 

On Wednesday, Varadkar said it was the Government’s understanding that a referral was not necessary for an investigation to begin as the ICC has jurisdiction over what goes on in Gaza, but that he would look into the matter and confirm that position.  

Ireland has made such a referral recently, in March 2022, when it joined 37 other countries in referring a case against Russia to the court.

A referral would expedite the process of opening a case as it would let the court’s prosecutor proceed without needing the approval of ICC judges. 

G7 ministers on Wednesday called for Israel to defend itself “in accordance with international law”, while Taoiseach Leo Varadkar recently said that some of Israel’s actions in Gaza were “something more approaching revenge”.

On Thursday, Varadkar also said that there is an “insistence that humanitarian law should be observed.”

“Failure to do so can’t be inconsequential forever,” said Varadkar. “Double standards will lead to no standards if not checked.”

When asked about Varadkar’s comments at a screening of Hamas attacks at the Israeli Embassy in Dublin on Tuesday, Israeli ambassador to Ireland Dana Erlich insisted to reporters that Israel’s actions in Gaza are in line with international law.

In a statement today, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Matt Carthy welcomed Varadkar’s remarks that failure of Israel to observe humanitarian law can’t be inconsequential. 

“The first consequence should be the reiteration of our demand for immediate ceasefires, for the immediate release of all hostages, and for the unconditional adherence by all parties to their commitments under international law and the UN charter,” Carthy said. 

“Ireland should also exercise our right as a state party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to refer the actions in Palestine and Israel to the Prosecutor of the court for the purpose of requesting an investigation into any acts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide that have occurred in Gaza over the past month,” he said. 

“Sinn Féin will bring a resolution to the Dáil next week mandating the Irish government to make such a referral.”

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett also welcomed the move from the Social Democrats and commended his oppositional colleagues.

Barrett said: “It is now critical we put unbearable pressure on this government to support these calls, expel the ambassador, impose sanctions, and refer Israel to the ICC for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.”

“I urge people to come in their thousands and tens of thousands to the Dáil this Wednesday at 6pm before the vote takes place to force the government finally take concrete steps to pressure Israel to stop this murderous slaughter.”

His party also commended the Social Democrats for bringing the motion forward and using the time in its private member’s meetings to discuss the topic.

With reporting by David MacRedmond, Órla Ryan, Christina Finn, Diarmuid Pepper and Muiris O’Cearbhaill

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