Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

10.56 12 May 2021


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Ireland's ambassador to Israel has been summoned by the country's foreign office after comments made by Minister Simon Coveney, Israeli media has reported.

The Foreign Affairs Minister is appealing for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

It comes as the latest reports suggest over 40 people have been killed in Gaza, five in Israel, and hundreds left injured following air strikes and rocket barrages in the region.

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In a tweet yesterday, Minister Coveney accused Israel of a "brutal response" to rocket fire from Gaza.

He said such rocket fire from Palestinian militants must be condemned - but Israel should also be condemned for "targeting Gaza with such tragic consequences".

In the Dáil, meanwhile, Minister Coveney said the approach of the Israeli security forces when they raided the Haram esh-Sharif (Temple Mount) holy site in Jerusalem was "not acceptable".

He said he'd spoken to the Israeli ambassador and "underlined the need for Israeli authorities to behave responsibly and to protect all civilians, in line with their obligations under international law".

Israeli media outlet Arutz Sheva and other outlets today reported that Ireland's ambassador Kyle O'Sullivan has now been summoned by the Israeli foreign ministry following Minister Coveney's remarks.

Escalating violence

It comes following a further escalation of violence overnight.

On Tuesday, a tower block in Gaza collapsed following an Israeli airstrike.

Meanwhile, dozens of rockets were fired by Hamas at one of Israel's biggest cities, Tel Aviv.

A vast majority of those rockets were shot down by Israeli missile defences.

Israel claims one thousand Hamas rockets have been fired since Monday evening, but Hamas says it's only responding to Israeli airstrikes.

A UN special envoy has warned the region is heading towards "full scale war" due to the escalating violence.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Hamas should "pay a very heavy price for their belligerence".

Hamas, meanwhile, has insisted it has the right "to act in response and has the right to defend the Palestinian people".

Main image: File photo of Simon Coveney. Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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