LONDON: Israel’s ambassador to Ireland has claimed that the country has failed to be politically neutral over the war in Gaza, the Independent reported.
Dana Erlich, who assumed her role less than three months ago, said she was aware of pro-Palestinian sentiment in Ireland but was “surprised” by the public reaction to the Hamas attack on Oct. 7 and Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.
The envoy said that pro-Palestine protesters in Ireland had failed to condemn Hamas or demand the release of hostages, claiming that the “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” chant was a call for Israel’s annihilation.
When asked if Ireland’s pro-Palestinian stance would allow the country could act as an intermediary to resolve the conflict, Erlich said she did not know if Ireland “wants to play that part.”
She acknowledged Ireland’s historic military neutrality, but added: “I don’t think it is politically neutral.”
The ambassador said that Ireland has become more vocal in its criticism of Israel, while also recognizing that government figures had issued “strong condemnations” of Hamas’ attack.
Erlich was speaking at the Israeli Embassy, which held a screening for news reporters showing footage of the Oct. 7 attack.
When asked if she thought the graphic clips justified Israel’s response in Gaza, Erlich said: “This is not an equation.”
Israel is trying to “get our people back” and “defend our people,” she added.
Erlich said that a “lot of questions” had been raised about the failure of Israeli intelligence to flag the attack and that a “thorough investigation” would be required in the future.
Sinn Fein and People-Before-Profit have been among the parties in Ireland calling for the ambassador to be expelled over Israel’s actions in the conflict.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that such calls did not represent a “common sense approach.”
Varadkar had said earlier that he was pushing fellow European leaders to agree to make a united call for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
More than 10,300 Palestinians have been killed by Israel’s relentless attacks on Gaza in the past 32 days, including more than 4,100 children, according to the Gazan Health Ministry.
The Israeli siege of the territory has denied its 2.2 million residents access to basic items such as food, water, fuel and electricity.