YERUSHALAYIM - Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday told visiting Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney of Israel’s “dissatisfaction” with Ireland’s pro-Palestinian Mideast policy.
According to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s media adviser, 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.”
Netanyahu 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 Israel.
Coveney’s response was not included in the Israeli readout, but he later tweeted that he had a “[g]ood straight talking meeting” with Netanyahu, and that he “raised concerns firmly and listened to Israeli perspectives.”
During his three-day trip to the region, Coveney is scheduled to meet with “representatives of Israeli and Palestinian NGOs funded by Irish Aid,” his office said.
Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, who participated in the Coveney-Netanyahu meeting, said that the Israeli side “made plain that the settlements will remain [under Israeli control] under any agreement,” The Times of Israel reported.
The deputy minister demanded Dublin cease its support for “organizations that seek to delegitimize Israel” such as Al Haq.
Earlier on Tuesday, Coveney visited Yad Vashem.
Wednesday, he is scheduled to meet with President Reuven Rivlin. Thursday, he will meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki in Ramallah. He will also meet with United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolai Mladenov, and U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Robert Piper.
“I am not new to the region and the issues faced, but this is my first visit as minister for foreign affairs and trade,” Coveney said in a statement issued Monday.
“In that context, I am looking forward to hearing a diverse range of views… Of course, I will also 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.”