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Irish ambassador subjected to ‘unacceptable’ treatment by Israel, says Tánaiste

Israel’s reprimand of the Irish ambassador was “totally unacceptable”, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said.

He made the remarks after Ambassador Sonya McGuinness was summoned to Israel’s Foreign Ministry and reprimanded over Ireland’s decision to recognize the State of Palestine.

As proceedings began, Ms McGuinness was shown Hamas footage that Israel says was filmed on October 7.

Speaking on Friday, Martin said: “I find it totally unacceptable and it is no way to treat diplomats, and it is outside the norm by which diplomats are treated in any country.”

On Wednesday, Ireland announced its recognition of the State of Palestine in a joint move with Norway and Spain.

The decision will formally come into force in all three countries on Tuesday.

In response, Israel warned that there would be “serious consequences.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz claimed that Ireland and Taoiseach Simon Harris had “rewarded terrorism”.

He said the ambassadors of Ireland, Norway and Spain would be shown the images as part of a “stern management”.

Speaking on Friday, Martin said: “Diplomatic channels are very important in terms of maintaining contact with people who explain the governments’ respective positions.

“Sonya McGuinness is an exceptional ambassador and we have consistently condemned the Hamas attack on October 7.”

Israeli media outlets were also filming the meeting, Martin said.

He added that officials had anticipated that Ms McGuinness would be called to the Foreign Office, but said showing her the footage in front of the Israeli national media was something they had not “witnessed before in other countries or jurisdictions”.

Martin added: “Most people would accept internationally that that is not within the parameters of acceptable norms in terms of how people relate to diplomats.

“I will communicate directly, in writing if necessary, with the Israeli foreign minister because our speeches on the recognition of Palestine were balanced.

“In terms of my own contribution, I was very clear in terms of our rejection of any mono-ethnic approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Since Wednesday, Israeli officials have repeatedly criticized Ireland’s decision to recognize the Palestinian state.

Katz accused the Irish government of awarding a “gold medal” to Hamas.

Harris rejected the characterization of the measure and accused Israel of misrepresenting Ireland’s views.

On Thursday he said: “Any Foreign Office can recall any ambassador, but what I will not tolerate is any country misrepresenting the position of the Irish people.

“I am the leader of the Irish Government, I speak on behalf of Ireland, and we have been clear and unequivocal in condemning Hamas, in condemning the most horrific and barbaric massacre that Israel experienced on October 7.

“We call for the unconditional and immediate release of all hostages.

“But it is entirely possible to say what I just said and also say the following – which unfortunately some refuse to say – that what is happening in Palestine, what is happening in Gaza, is a humanitarian catastrophe.”

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