Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a terse statement Tuesday criticizing Ireland’s support for the Palestinians after meeting with visiting Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed his dissatisfaction over Ireland’s traditional stance and told the Foreign Minister that his country does not condemn Palestinians for incitement and for glorifying those who commit terrorist attacks,” read a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.
“The Prime Minister also asked him why Ireland helps NGOs that call for the destruction of Israel and noted that many European countries are overlooking the core problem of the conflict—the Palestinian refusal to recognize the state of the Jews,” the statement added.
Coveney said in a briefing later in the day that he had held a “constructive and frank discussion” with Netanyahu.
“Of course, we have clear differences on some issues, but these differences are honestly held and openly expressed,” Coveney added.
Coveney, who is also Deputy Leader of Ireland’s ruling Fine Gael party, said discussions with Netanyahu touched on a range of issues, including settlements, the humanitarian and political situation in Gaza and the peace process.
Prior to his departure for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which he visits later this week, Coveney said he would use the opportunity “to make clear Ireland’s concerns about the impact of the continuing occupation and the fact that, as things stand, the prospects of a comprehensive peace agreement remain dim.”
While Netanyahu expressed his dissatisfaction with Irish policy in the region, Coveney added a positive note, saying they had also discussed “growing trade between Ireland and Israel.”
On Wednesday, Coveney will meet with President Reuven Rivlin and on Thursday he will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.