'No advantage' in expelling Israeli Ambassador to Ireland - Varadkar

"We do need to keep channels of communication open"
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.09 24 Oct 2023

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'No advantage' in expelling Is...

'No advantage' in expelling Israeli Ambassador to Ireland - Varadkar

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.09 24 Oct 2023

Share this article

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the Government has no plans to expel the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland.

People Before Profit has called for Dana Erlich to be removed due to ongoing conflict in Gaza.

There were also calls from some opposition TDs for the Government to impose sanctions on Israel.


However Mr Varadkar said such sanctions are not "effective", while expelling the ambassador would be detrimental.

"It'll be of no advantage to Palestine in throwing out the Israeli Ambassador, it'll be of no advantage to Ukraine in throwing out the Russian Ambassador - I don't believe," he said.

"But it would cut us off and we need to be able to talk to countries, particularly countries where we have citizens and we have people.

"We need to make sure that they're protected."

Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Dana Erlich Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Dana Erlich. Image via @IsraelinIreland/X

Mr Varadkar said even countries at war need

"I would say the same as I said when people called for the Russian Ambassador to be expelled and the Russian Embassy to be closed," he said

"Even countries at war have diplomatic relations, have diplomats, have ambassadors, sometimes have embassies.

"We do need to keep channels of communication open," he added.

The same sentiment was echoed by Enterprise Minister Simon Coveney, who told The Hard Shoulder any move to expel the ambassador would not help Ireland.

"I feel strongly that diplomacy matters, even if you strongly disagree with a country or a government," he said.

"I think it's important that you have an avenue to talk to them.

"Many of the people who are calling for the Israeli Ambassador to be expelled are also calling for Ireland to be very active in diplomatic channels to call for a ceasefire.

"It's hard to have it both ways.

"For me sending ambassadors and their teams home simply isolates Ireland from the discussion.

"What we need now is a very persuasive argument coming from Ireland, working with other countries that want to see a ceasefire, that want to see humanitarian assistance and provisions getting into Gaza," he added.

Israel began its ‘complete siege’ of Gaza on October 9th after Hamas threatened to start killing hostages it had taken during its attack the previous day.

The siege effectively cuts off the 2.2 million people living in Gaza from basic humanitarian aid - with very little travelling in or out of the area for over two weeks.

Inside Gaza

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said doctors have been performing surgeries without anaesthesia or other basic surgical supplies in Gaza.

In an update on Tuesday, the organisation said fuel has become the "most vital commodity" in the enclave.

To date, fuel has been absent from the aid convoys allowed in so far.

WHO Emergencies Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Region, Dr Rick Brennan, has pleaded for 'humanitarian space'.

"We are on our knees asking for sustained, scaled up, protected humanitarian operations," he said.

Briefing reporters from Cairo, he appealed "to all those in a situation to make a decision or influence decision makers, to give us the humanitarian space to address this human catastrophe."

Families flee their shattered neighbourhood, Tal al-Hawa, to seek refuge in the southern Gaza strip in October 2023 Families flee their shattered neighbourhood, Tal al-Hawa, to seek refuge in the southern Gaza strip in October 2023. Image: © UNICEF/Eyad El Baba

UNRWA spokesperson Tamara Alrifai said the fuel is an absolute necessity.

"Trucks can't move and generators can't produce electricity for hospitals, bakeries and water desalination plants," she said.

Ms Alrifai said the 54 trucks which have crossed into Gaza from Egypt as part of three convoys since Saturday contained a mix of food, medical supplies and non-food items.

In comparison before the conflict, she said 500 trucks used to enter Gaza every day which included commercial trucks and at least 100 aid trucks - some 45 of them bringing fuel.

Call for UN chief to resign

It comes as the United Nations Security Council has been meeting in New York for what was a scheduled quarterly briefing on the ongoing conflict.

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the situation "is growing more dire by the hour", repeating his call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

"Divisions are splintering societies and tensions threaten to boil over", he said.

"It is vital to be clear on principles," he added, starting with the protection of civilians.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres UN Secretary-General António Guterres. Image: UN photo

Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riyad al-Maliki said the Security Council has a duty and obligation to save lives.

“Continued failure at this Council is inexcusable,” he said.

"No amount of weapons, no alliance, will bring [Israel] security - only peace will, peace with Palestine and its people.

"The fate of the Palestinian people cannot continue to be dispossession, displacement, denial of rights and death.

"Our freedom is the condition of share peace and security," he added.

The Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, has called on Mr Guterres to "resign immediately", calming he "is not fit to lead the UN".

Israel's Foreign Minister Eli Cohen also said he would not be meeting with the UN chief today for a scheduled bilateral meeting.

Ambassador Erdan claimed that in noting the Hamas attacks "did not happen in a vacuum" in his address to the Council, the UN chief was "justifying terrorism".

Additional reporting: Barry Whyte

Main image: Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the opening of a new fabrication plant at the Intel facility in Leixlip, Co Kildare on September 29th 2023. Image: Leah Farrell /

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Antonio Guterres Dana Erlich Dr Rick Brennan Egypt Eli Cohen Gaza Gilad Erdan Israeli Ambassador To Ireland Riyad Al-Maliki Security Council Simon Coveney Taoiseach Leo Varadkar The Hard Shoulder UNRWA World Health Organisation

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