On July 12, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney (with Jewish family roots) paid a 3-day visit to the Zionist entity. During his visit he held meetings with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, and the West Bank president Mahmoud Abbas. But he was not allowed to enter Gaza Strip to meet Hamas government leaders.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu’s office in a statement said: “PM expressed his dissatisfaction over Ireland’s traditional stance on Palestine and urged Coveney to condemn what he called Palestinian incitement. He also challenged the top Irish diplomat over Dublin’s assistance to the NGOs that call for the destruction of Israel.”
In a news briefing Irish FM said that his discussions with Netanyahu touched on a range of issues, including Israel’s illegal settlements, the humanitarian and political situation in the blockaded Gaza Strip and the so-called peace process.
“Of course, we have clear differences on some issues, but these differences are honestly held and openly expressed,” Simon Coveney said.
Coveney during his meeting with Rivlin told the Zionist Jew: “The reason that Irish people are so interested in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship and conflict is because we have had a violent past ourselves, and we see this as one of the great conflicts and divisions in the world. That is why the majority of Irish peacekeeping soldiers are in this part of the world.”
Coveney informed Rivlin that he was not anti-Israel or Jew-hater. “I have been to Israel a number of times, and I know there is an impression here that Ireland takes a different position to Israel. Can I say that in essence though, we are yearning for the same thing that I think the vast majority of Israelis are, which is a peaceful future,” he said.
Rivlin during the meeting repeated his invitation to Ireland’s newly elected prime minister Leo Varadkar, an Indian-Irish pro-Israel gay, to visit Israel.
Ireland runs Irish Aid, an official overseas development program for overseas development which funds Palestinian rights groups, such as Al-Haq, Addameer and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.
Irish people still remember the Muslim generosity, when Ottoman Sultan Abdul Madjid Khan donated money and food during the 1847 Irish potato famine.