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Mícheál Éamonn Mac Donncha
Dublin mayor enters Israel despite ban
Mícheál Éamonn Mac Donncha, who led a decision to expel the Israeli ambassador from his city, arrives at a conference in Ramallah after entering Israel due to misidentification.
Dublin Mayor Mícheál Éamonn Mac Donncha, who led a decision to expel the Israeli ambassador from his city, landed at Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday night and arrived at a conference in Ramallah as a guest of the Palestinian Authority, although Interior Minister Aryeh Deri had instructed authorities to stop him from entering Israel.

 

  

Donncha apparently managed to enter Israel due to a misidentification, and authorities are looking into ways to expel him Wednesday.

  

Mícheál Éamonn Mac Donncha
Mícheál Éamonn Mac Donncha

A source in the Population and Immigration Authority said Wednesday morning that the Dublin mayor entered Israel due to a technological glitch "which could happen," and went on to blame the Ministry of Strategic Affairs for the error.

 

"The details aren't received with the man's picture," the source explained. "The Ministry of Strategic Affairs misspelled the man's name in the document it gave the border control, and that's how it was entered into the system. If someone is barred from entering, the system should produce a warning as soon as the name is entered, but when someone arrives with a passport bearing a different name, there's no way of knowing about the ban."

 

The source admitted, however, that had the man been banned entry for security reasons, it would have been a serious mishap. "He is in Ramallah, he didn't come here to carry out a terror attack in Israel," the source said. "Tens of thousands of people enter the country every day, and the inspectors don’t know him personally. He's not a famous person."

 

A Ministry of Strategic Affairs official clarified that "the ministry gave the Population and Immigration Authority the Dublin mayor's full and correct name as it is spelled on his official website." The official also provided a screenshot from the website.

 

The screenshot provided by the Ministry of Strategic Affair
The screenshot provided by the Ministry of Strategic Affair

 

 

Interior Minister Deri appointed his ministry's director-general, Mordechai Cohen, to look into the incident. "This examination is required to prevent such mishaps in the future and draw conclusions from what happened," he said.

 

"In any event, after the Dublin mayor leaves Israel and in light of his activity against the state, I have instructed authorities to hand him a letter banning him from entering Israeli territories in the future."

 

“He acts in any way possible against Israel,” Deri said in his justification of his decision to ban Donncha's entry. “He initiated condemnations against us and yesterday he led a resolution to expel our ambassador in Ireland.

 

“Now, he wants to enter PA territory in order to continue to incite and harm Israel. I instructed that he be prevented from entering so that he cannot harm the state,” the minister continued. “I will continued to use my authority against anyone who tries to harm the State of Israel, including senior public officials.”

 

Deri’s decision was taken following a recommendation by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Following the recommendations, the Foreign Ministry stated that there was no political impediment to preventing the mayor's entry.

 

The Foreign Ministry also issued a statement responding to Ireland’s decision expel the Israeli ambassador.

 

“The city of Dublin adopted a shameful and ridiculous resolution, in the hateful spirit of Hamas and similar organizations,” the statement charged. “It is utterly unacceptable that the capital city of a country which is a member of the European Union adopts resolution that is entirely a boycott, hateful and racist. We expect a scathing Irish condemnation of this despicable resolution.”

 

A spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, Emannuel Nahshon also wrote on his Twitter page, slamming the Irish for the resolution.

 

“The Dublin city council ‘resolution’ to call for the expulsion of Israel’s Ambassador is utter nonsense, worthy of dark dictatorships. This is lowbrow Antisemitism, not what you’d expect of the capital of an EU member state,” Nahshon wrote.

 

A day before departing for Israel, the Dublin City Council adopted the resolution to expel the ambassador for the deaths of Palestinians during the March of Return violent demonstrations staged on the Gaza border. The resolution, however, was purely declarative, and carried no practical obligation on the government.

 

Minister Deri (Photo: AFP)
Minister Deri (Photo: AFP)

 

Donncha slammed US President Donald Trump’s decision last year to transfer the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, asserting that the move constituted a serious obstacle to peace, reconciliation and justice in “Palestine” and Israel.

 

He announced that he would provide assistance to Ramallah in order to bring about the recognition of eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state under a two-state solution to the conflict, which he said has been recognized by the international community and blocked by Israel.

 

“Jerusalem is a place of immense cultural and religious significance to people all over the world, including in Ireland,” he said. “It is, obviously, a place of immense significance for the Palestinian people.”

 

Donncha also said that he had decided to head to Ramallah in order to demonstrate his solidarity with the Palestinians “who suffer violence by the Israeli forces, as we saw recently in Gaza with shooting at protesters.”

 

The Dublin Council also adopted a resolution calling for a boycott against HP, since “the its technology is used by the Israeli government at checkpoints in the territories” and it “is used in identification cards and naval systems that enable Israel to impose apartheid on the Palestinian people.”

 

In May 2017, the Dublin City Council approved the placing the Palestinian flag above its building for a month, in solidarity with the Palestinian people "suffering from brutal apartheid and the 50th anniversary of the occupation.”

 


First published: 04.10.18, 23:46
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