newsIsrael at War

Israel raps Irish PM for ‘forgetting’ Israeli hostages

Simon Harris plans "to award additional prizes to terrorism, in the form of an ICJ declaration of intervention” against Israel. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosts in Jerusalem Irish Tanaiste and Foreign and Defense Minister Micheál Martin, Sept. 5, 2023. Photo by Haim Zach/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosts in Jerusalem Irish Tanaiste and Foreign and Defense Minister Micheál Martin, Sept. 5, 2023. Photo by Haim Zach/GPO.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday chastised Simon Harris, Ireland’s new prime minister (or, Taoiseach), who referred to the Gaza war in his inaugural address but failed—in the ministry’s words “forgot”—to mention the 133 Israeli hostages still held by Hamas.

Harris plans “to award additional prizes to terrorism, in the form of an ICJ [International Court of Justice] declaration of intervention on the side of South Africa, the legal arm of the Hamas terrorist organization, and the possible recognition of a Palestinian state in the future,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lior Haiat tweeted on X.

Haiat referred to the “Genocide Case” brought by South Africa against Israel at the ICJ in January. Israel’s government at the time referred to the case as a ” blood libel.”

“After the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, and even after the war crimes, the crimes against humanity and the sexual crimes that were committed, and are still being committed, by Hamas terrorists against Israeli women and men, there are those in Ireland who persist on being on the wrong side of history,” Haiat said.

Ireland rejected Israel’s criticism with a spokesman for Harris telling The Irish Times on Thursday that the Taoiseach has been even-handed in his response to the conflict, and has called for the hostages release.

However, Ireland has demonstrated a problematic relationship with Israel in recent years, consistently criticizing Israeli policy in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

In March, Ireland, Spain, Malta and Slovenia announced they would take initial steps toward the recognition of a Palestinian state when “it can make a positive contribution and the circumstances are right.”

In November 2023, Jerusalem summoned the Irish ambassador after “outrageous” remarks by its previous premier Leo Varadkar, who described a released Israeli hostage as “an innocent child who was lost and has now been found.”

Emily Hand was freed as part of a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas. Her father, Tom, is an Irish immigrant.

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