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Calls to expel Israeli ambassador ‘simplistic’

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin has described calls from opposition parties to expel the Israeli Ambassador Dana Erlich as “a simplistic, shallow way of developing policy”.

Speaking on the first evening of the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis, Mr Martin said that he does not believe in expelling ambassadors and has already faced calls within the last year to expel the Russian and Iranian ambassadors.

“If you take that to logical conclusion, one could be expelling a lot of ambassadors in a given year,” he said.

“So it’s a very basic thing in the proper international rules-based order to have diplomatic channels. That’s what surprises me when political parties come forward calling for expulsions of diplomats.

“I think it’s a simplistic, shallow way of developing policy.”

Israeli ambassador Dana Erlich was not invited to the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis this weekend

The Tánaiste described the Israeli Ambassador’s “absurd and unacceptable assertion” that recognising the Palestinian state would be akin to rewarding terrorism.

He said many countries all over the world have recognised Palestine as a state

He said under the leadership of Benjamin Netanahyu, there have been deliberate attempts by Israel to undermine the prospects of a two-state solution.

“The failure to reign in the settlements is evidence of that,” Mr Martin said.

Read more: Ireland will move on Palestine state ‘when time is right’, says Taoiseach

The Tánaiste said with Ireland’s past history in terms of the Troubles, “the last thing Fianna Fáil is doing is condoning or in any way rewarding terrorism”.

Fianna Fáil last night said it was not inviting the Israeli or Russian ambassador to its Ard Fheis.

In a statement posted on social media, the party said that it would “not be appropriate given the war on the people of Gaza and the war on Ukraine”.

The Tanaiste also said that the EU Commission is still examining the request from Ireland and Spain to review the EU Israeli Trade Agreement to understand if Israel is in breach of the human rights clause in the agreement.

Mr Martin said the letter, which was sent two months ago by then-taoiseach Leo Varadkar, “will be discussed again” and that the matter had been discussed by the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) and will be “discussed further”.

He said there are discussions going on within the FAC and within the commission.

Mr Martin said the focus for the party’s Ard Fheis will be on key areas, such as the impact of the cost of on people and the need to further develop public services.

He added that Fianna Fáil will be looking ahead to the next four to five years during the Ard Fheis.

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