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Wednesday 17 January 2018

Israel busy trying to repair links with State

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

ISRAEL has been mounting a diplomatic offensive to rebuild its strained relationship with the Government after the passports scandal.

As its embassy in Dublin continues to deny any involvement in the publication of Senator David Norris's "clemency plea" letters, behind the scenes, there has been busy diplomatic activity over the past 12 months to repair relations.

It was prompted by the deterioration in relations when it was revealed that eight forged Irish passports had been used by the Israeli secret service agency Mossad in the assassination of a Hamas leader in Dubai.

The Government expelled an Israeli security official in protest last June. According to an official source, Israel responded by flying in a senior foreign ministry official to Dublin to meet Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore.

The Government has traditionally had a testy relationship with Israel over its strong support for a Palestinian state and the deaths in the 1980s of Irish peacekeeping troops in the Lebannon, who were killed by pro-Israeli militia. A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman admitted differences had arisen.

"But we generally find that the Israeli authorities appreciate that Ireland is genuinely committed to achieving a fair and secure settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on negotiations leading to a two-state solution -- one that is in the best interests of Israelis and Palestinians alike," he said.

Irish Independent

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