Irish ambassador summoned to Israeli ministry over Coveney statements

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Irish Ambassador Summoned To Israeli Ministry Over Coveney Statements
Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney. Photo: PA Media
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The Irish ambassador to Israel was summoned by the Israeli foreign ministry after statements made by Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, local media has reported.

The move comes after Mr Coveney called in the Israeli ambassador on Tuesday and said the country’s security forces must “protect all civilians in line with their obligations under international law.”

Israel has been making air strikes on Gaza and Palestinian militants have rained rockets into Israel as global concern mounts over their most intense hostilities in years.

The latest reports say at least 53 people have been killed in Gaza since violence escalated on Monday, according to the Palestinian territory's health ministry. Six people have been killed in Israel, medical officials said.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Mr Coveney accused Israel of a “brutal response” to rocket fire from Gaza.

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He condemned rocket fire from Palestinian militants and said Israel should also be condemned for “targeting Gaza with such tragic consequences”.

According to Israeli media reports, Kyle O'Sullivan, Ireland’s ambassador in Tel Aviv, was summoned to Israel's foreign affairs ministry on Wednesday in response to Mr Coveney's statements.

An Israeli government source told public broadcaster Kann that the ministry “made it clear” to Mr O’Sullivan that the statements were “one-sided, outrageous and completely unacceptable”.

Mr Coveney told the Dáil on Tuesday that he met the Israeli ambassador “to convey Ireland’s position with this recent tension and violence.

“I underlined the need for the Israeli authorities to behave responsibly and protect all civilians in line with their obligations under international law.”

The fighting is the heaviest between Israel and Palestinian militants since a 2014 war in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, and concern is growing that the situation could spiral out of control. – Additional reporting: Reuters

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