Collision course - Israeli relations

IRELAND is on a collision course with Israel on a number of fronts: Our tacit support for Palestinian activists, our opposition to the expansion of illegal settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories, and, most recently, an attempt to bring in a law that would boycott goods produced in those settlements.

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu summoned our ambassador, Alison Kelly, to his office in Jerusalem to protest at what he and his government describes as an attempt to “give backing to those who seek to boycott Israel”.

Foreign Minister Simon Coveney was quick to respond to Independent senator Frances Black, advising that unless the private member’s bill was withdrawn, it would be opposed by the Government. It has now been put on ice.

He recognises that, in consort with our EU colleagues, we oppose the expansion of settlements and favour a two-state solution in Palestine. He will need all his diplomatic skills to persuade the people of Israel that, while we support their right to a safe and prosperous future and value their friendship, we will not be cowed or bullied by Netanyahu.

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