Wednesday, 25 April, 2018

Israel summons Irish ambassador over Dublin mayor's visit

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Melissa Porter | 13 April, 2018, 14:07

The Lord Mayor of Dublin Micheál Mac Donncha narrowly avoided detention and expulsion by Israeli authorities when he landed at Ben Gurion Airport in the country.

Ireland's ambassador to Israel, Alison Kelly, was then called before the Foreign Ministry to explain the Lord Mayor's actions.

Sources described the meeting between the Irish ambassador and Israeli officials as "frosty", with the Foreign Ministry looking for a statement of support from the Government here. However, the mayor entered Israel on Tuesday night on the way to a conference in the West Bank's city of Ramallah.

Councillor Mac Donncha is a supporter of the boycott movement targeting Israel.

Mr Mac Donncha attended an Islamic conference about Jerusalem in Ramallah organised by the religious affairs adviser to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.

Update 5.09pm: Israel's foreign ministry has summoned Ireland's ambassador to express dismay over Dublin's mayor attending an "anti-Israel" event in Ramallah.

To Palestinians he is a national hero but Israelis remember him as an ally of the Nazis and in 2015 Netanyahu suggested that he gave Hitler the idea to exterminate Jews - a claim historians say is inaccurate.

Israeli authorities are investigating how Dublin Mayor Micheal Mac Donncha arrived in the country despite instructions to bar his entry.

Israel expects a "public and formal" response from the Republic to his conduct, it said.