Israeli Ambassador Will Not Be Expelled Over Gaza Violence
The Israeli ambassador to Ireland will not be expelled despite yesterday’s violence in Gaza.
Leo Varadkar has told the Dáil that expelling the Israeli envoy would lead to a breakdown in relations – and Ireland’s representative in Israel being sent home in response.
The Taoiseach says we won't expel the Israeli ambassador after what happened in Gaza. Leo Varadkar says it would result in Ireland's ambassador being expelled and a breakdown in relations— Sean Defoe (@SeanDefoe) May 15, 2018
Dozens of protesters were killed by Israeli forces yesterday as ongoing weekly protests coincided with the official opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem.
According to Palestinian officials, at least 58 people - including six children - were killed by Israeli forces during the protests.
The latest protests also coincide with the 70th anniversary of the creation of Israel, known as the 'Nakba' or 'catastrophe' by Palestinians.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has declared three days of national mourning for those killed, as well as a general strike for today.
At home, the Tánaiste summoned the Israeli ambassador to Ireland to the Department of Foreign Affairs in the wake of the violence.
Simon Coveney. Image: RollingNews.ie
Simon Coveney said he was outraged at the level of death and injury yesterday on the Gaza strip.
The Foreign Affairs Minister has called for restraint from Israel "in the hours and days ahead."
He also informed the ambassador that Ireland wants to see an independent investigation led by the UN into what happened on the Gaza Strip yesterday.
However, there have been calls for Ireland to expel the Israeli ambassador, including from Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett is also calling for the ambassador's expulsion, after what he described as a "cold blooded massacre of unarmed protesters".
Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon defended the country's right to protect its border and said they were preparing for another day of potential violence.
He warned Palestinians not to try to breech the frontier, and accused Hamas of trying to "rally people and bring them to the Israeli border".
Picture by: Xinhua/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images
UN chief António Guterres called on both sides to show "the utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life".
A White House spokesperson, meanwhile, accused Hamas of 'bearing the responsibility' for the violence - describing it as a "gruesome and unfortunate propaganda attempt".