Politics watch: Dáil votes on Israeli ambassador and referring Israel to ICC

Politics Watch: Dáil Votes On Israeli Ambassador And Referring Israel To Icc
The conflict between Israel and Hamas is set to dominate Dáil proceedings once again this week. 
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James Cox

The conflict between Israel and Hamas is set to dominate Dáil proceedings once again this week.

Vote calling for expulsion of Israeli ambassador

There will be a Dáil vote on the motion from the Social Democrats to expel Israeli ambassador Dana Erlich.


Ms Erlich has claimed Ireland is not politically neutral in the Israel-Hamas conflict, while she also accused President Michael D Higgins of spreading misinformation.

A number of opposition parties have called for her to be expelled. However, the Government has insisted this move would be counterproductive.

Social Democrats foreign affairs spokesperson Gary Gannon has tabled the motion.

Sinn Féin have said they will support the motion, but they will table their own, on calling for Ireland to refer Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC).


Motion on referring Israel to the International Criminal Court

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said: “They’ve made their view on the Ambassador clear, I disagree with them but they have set out their stall on that. Therefore, we will bring the motion to the Dáil next week that seeks a referral by the Irish Government, by the Irish State, to the International Criminal Court."

In response, Tánaiste Micheál Martin said Ireland is a “consistent and strong supporter” of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in investigating the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Mr Martin, who is also Minister for Foreign Affairs, said the ICC is the “cornerstone of the system of international criminal justice”.

In a statement on Sunday, he said: “Ireland is a consistent and strong supporter of the court, and of its independence and impartiality.”


Mr Martin said the ICC has jurisdiction over “the situation in Palestine” and the prosecutor opened an investigation into Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem in March 2021.

The investigation covers all crimes within the jurisdiction of the court, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, alleged to have been committed since the date of referral in 2014.

“This gives the court jurisdiction over any crimes committed within Palestine, and/or by Palestinian nationals outside it, including in Israel.

“Importantly, the current prosecutor, Karim Khan, has made absolutely clear on a number of occasions over the last month that this investigation covers the current conflict, including all events on and from October 7th this year.


“He has confirmed that there is an active investigation ongoing in relation to the situation in Palestine.”

Defamation cases

Sinn Féin TD Chris Andrews has taken a defamation case against The Irish Times and their political correspondent Harry McGee.

Government figures have criticised the move, with Mr Martin saying cases against journalists have a "chilling effect".

The NUJ has also spoken out against the move.


This will undoubtedly be a topic of Dáil discussion. Ms McDonald defended the move when asked about it at her party's ard fheis in Athlone, Co Westmeath, this weekend.

“People will be aware when they have a complaint, or an issue, of all of the options available. People generally take advice and, generally speaking, there will be an interaction with the publication or the broadcaster in question. The best outcome is where matters can be resolved directly in that channel, in my own opinion, but I can’t comment [on this case]. Every individual has the right and the freedom to pursue matters in the way that they would wish.”


In the UK, all eyes will be on Rishi Sunak following widespread calls for him to sack British home secretary Suella Braverman.

Ms Braverman has been under fire for inflaming tensions after she branded pro-Palestinian protesters “hate marchers” and accused the police of bias for letting a London rally coinciding with remembrance events go ahead.

Seven people have been charged over violent disorder in London following the scenes over the weekend.

Meanwhile, in the US, Republican House speaker Mike Johnson has unveiled a plan aiming to prevent a government shutdown.

President Joe Biden will continue to focus on the Israel-Hamas conflict, while former president Donald Trump's court cases will continue to dominate headlines.


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