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Diplomatic row after phone call between Harris and Herzog

A diplomatic row has broken out over Friday’s phone call between Taoiseach Simon Harris and Israeli President Isaac Herzog over the Government’s plan to recognise the state of Palestine before the end of the month.

Sources close to the Israeli President told RTÉ News last night that Mr Herzog warned any such unilateral recognition of Palestine could jeopardise any hope of Hamas releasing the hostages it continues to hold in Gaza and encourage further attacks on Israel – but this has been contested in Dublin.

This morning, a spokesperson for the Taoiseach said in a statement: “The Taoiseach and President Herzog had a firm and respectful conversation on Friday. Some of the content of the anonymous briefing to RTÉ does not accurately reflect the content of the conversation.”

People gather at a ‘United We Bring Them Home’ rally in Hostages Square on 18 May in Tel Aviv

The statement added that the Taoiseach used the opportunity to again call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and unhindered access for aid to deal with the humanitarian disaster there.

It said: “The Taoiseach informed President Herzog of Ireland’s plan to recognise the state of Palestine and reiterated that the overarching goal should be a two-state solution.

“Ireland has always unequivocally called for Hamas to release Israeli hostages without conditions.”

The statement concluded that the Taoiseach “… finds the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding [in Gaza] to be repugnant to human rights and international law. Ireland will continue to speak out on this and convey the clear view that the violence must end, a ceasefire is required and humanitarian aid must be allowed to flow.”

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