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Israel

Varadkar: 'I’m not sure if the Israeli government listens to anyone anymore'

Taoiseach says Israel used to listen to the US, but he’s not sure that is the case anymore.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said he is not sure that the Israeli government is listening to anyone, including US President Joe Biden.

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions today, Varadkar said: 

“Sadly, the Israeli government doesn’t listen to us. I’m not sure if the Israeli government listens to anyone anymore. They used to listen to the Americans. I’m not even sure that’s the case anymore.

“They are, as President Biden said, at risk of being blinded by rage and as a sad reality that I’m not actually sure that any action or statement by us or the European Union or the US will change the current course of action they are on.”

He was responding to a Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns who said that Israel should not be congratulated for doing the “bare minimum” in allowing some humanitarian aid into Gaza. 

Despite the Israeli government not listening, Varadkar said that “doesn’t mean that we don’t do the right thing”. 

He said the Irish government has increase funding in humanitarian aid to Palestine as well as the International Criminal Court so it can continue its investigation into any potential war crimes that have been committed in recent weeks.

Ireland will continue to use its influence at EU and UN level, but reiterated that his view is that sanctions against Israel should be done on a multilateral basis. 

The government today tabled a countermotion to People Before Profit’s motion on Israel, with Varadkar saying it is doing so because it omits reference to Hamas and the human rights abuses committed against Israeli citizens. The motion will be voted on later today.