Dublin City Council calls for expulsion of Israeli ambassador over Palestinian flag row

“I don’t believe we as a country should support a genocidal regime that is defending it.”

Cllr Noeleen Reilly said Dana Erlich should be removed from Ireland after the ambassador emailed councilors ahead of a debate about flying the flag.

In the email to councilors ahead of the monthly council meeting, Ms Erlich said she was aware of media reports about a request from some council members to debate flying the Palestinian flag.

Ms. Erlich stated that, against this background, “we appeal to you to examine the full facts of the current tragic conflict instigated by the terrorist organization Hamas.”

She pointed out in her correspondence that more than 1,400 people in Israel, including many international and Irish citizens, were “murdered, tortured and kidnapped by Hamas, which subsequently conducted live broadcasts, celebrated and attempted to incite further attacks.”

“In addition, Hamas has fired thousands of rockets indiscriminately into Israel. Without Israeli defense measures, many thousands more people living in Israel would be murdered or maimed,” said Ms. Erlich.

Cllr Noeleen Reilly

She pointed out that “unfortunately, Israel had no choice but to take military action in the Gaza Strip to protect its citizens.”

However, Cllr Reilly, who supported the emergency motion which ended in a stalemate after a three-and-a-half hour meeting, described Ms Erlich’s comments as “inhumane”.

“I don’t think we as a country should support a genocidal regime that is defending it,” Cllr Reilly said.

“And then she insinuates that the Irish are somehow stupid and don’t know what’s going on there, based on what she wrote to us yesterday. It’s disappointing that the core of her letter is that we don’t understand it.

“I think their position is really untenable unless there is an immediate ceasefire. But nowhere (in the email) does she look for peace or an end to what is happening.

“We can’t support that.”

In her email, the ambassador reiterated that the people of Gaza are not enemies of Israel, but “unfortunately, Hamas has deep roots in the civilian population and it exploits this population by launching attacks from civilian areas.”

“In addition, Israel has for weeks urged all civilians to leave areas designated as combat zones in order to minimize civilian casualties.”

She said that the embassy knew that this conflict affected many people in Ireland, but that it would “respectfully ask you, as business leaders and councilors of the city council of this multicultural capital, to be considerate of the many Israeli citizens of all faiths and the Jewish community here.” “Ireland and the community that supports Israel and lives, works and engages in this city, in view of the symbolism of a Palestinian flag on the town hall.”

The ambassador also stressed that the embassy had received a lot of support from the Irish public and advocated for empathy and compassion following the attack in Israel on October 7th.

There have been a number of vigils in support of the victims, but “many fear that public demonstrations in support of Israel could be targeted with protests, threats of violence and even more anti-Semitic manifestations,” the ambassador added.

Cllr Reilly added: “Nobody wants to see the loss of life on either side. And no one wants to see what happened on October 7th.

“But that doesn’t give them (the Israelis) the right to go in and murder 10,000 people, take their lives and their homes.

“It’s hard enough living there without what happened there in the last few weeks. The Taoiseach said the Israeli response amounted to revenge, which is exactly what it was.

“As a country, I don’t believe we should have diplomatic relations with the Israelis at all.”

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