Israeli ambassador to Ireland accuses President Higgins of repeating ‘misinformation’

Dana Erlich expresses ‘frustration’ at President Higgins’s comments

The Israeli ambassador to Ireland, Dana Erlich, has accused President Michael D Higgins of repeating “misinformation” in relation to the Israel-Hamas war and said the effect of his comments were “inflammatory”.

Last week, President Higgins said that Israel was “creating a huge humanitarian crisis” and the announcement of war reduced the Geneva conventions to “tatters”. Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared that his country was “at war” after Hamas sent dozens of its fighters into Israel in one of the deadliest attacks in decades.

“To actually announce in advance that you’re going to break international law and announce it again and again, and do so on an innocent population,” President Higgins said. “I think that it really reduces all that code that was there from the second World War through the Geneva conventions about the protection of civilians ... it reduces it to tatters.”

Ms Erlich expressed her “frustration” at President Higgins’s comments.


“And this is misinformation. Because announcing beforehand – that is not breaking, that is in accordance with international law,” Ms Erlich said in an interview with the Sunday Independent.

“We want to make sure that there are as few civilian casualties as possible. And I think we all have responsibility, especially at this time.”

She added: “What he said is legally wrong. And that is my frustration. Because people will listen when the President says it.”

A spokesman for the President said there was “nothing to be gained by misrepresenting each other’s position”.

“The President has condemned all of the outrages and killings that have taken place and said that in responding to all of this it is important that international law is observed,” he said.

“The President has expressed his revulsion at the killing of civilians, called for the immediate release of all hostages taken and has been clear that we must be absolutely unequivocal about anti-Semitic expression.”

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times