Micheál Martin criticises ‘absurd’ claims by Israeli ambassador on Irish attitude to Hamas

Republic supports two-state solution to legitimise aspirations of Palestinians, and has consistently condemned Hamas, says FF leader

Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin has criticised as “absurd” assertions made by Israeli ambassador Dana Erlich regarding the State’s plans for recognising a Palestinian state.

Writing in The Irish Times, Ms Erlich said that unilateral recognition of Palestine would send “a dangerous signal to Hamas and its supporters”, since it will be viewed as “rewarding terrorism”.

Mr Martin, speaking on RTÉ radio’s News At One, described the claim as an “absurd assertion” and said Israel should respect the democratic views of other countries.

“For a long, long time, everybody was on the one page in respect of a two-state solution,” he said. “So how is it in any way rewarding terrorism to say that we recognise a Palestinian state, particularly in the context of moving to a situation where we can get peace? The only way you have peace, I think, in the future, is co-existence between Israelis and a Palestinian state.”


Ms Erlich claimed the Government had “scarcely condemned Hamas” or taken action against what she described as its “genocidal jihadi character”. Mr Martin also rejected this characterisation.

“I took issue with that and I take serious issue with what the ambassador said there,” he said. “I will be responding to the ambassador because I have condemned Hamas, not just its attack on October 7th. We did resolutely on October 7th and sometimes the Israeli spokespeople try and call that into question.

“There has been no question about unequivocal condemnation by the Irish Government on successive occasions in terms of Hamas as an organisation. The European Union has identified them as a terrorist organisation. And we’re members of the European Union. And the idea that we haven’t condemned Hamas – I mean, I’ve said it is jihadist and I said the attack on October 7th was jihadist in terms of the murder of civilians, the rape of civilians, and the killing of children.”

Rejecting the suggestion that recognition would legitimise Hamas, he said a two-state solution was required and that moderation should be encouraged once a viable Palestinian state is recognised.

“We’re legitimising the aspirations of Palestinians, across Gaza, Palestinians across the West Bank,” he said.

Mr Martin also condemned the Iranian attack on Israel on Saturday night as a “flagrant abuse of international law”.

He said a wider war in the region would be “ruinous and devastating” for civilians and urged restraint.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist