DUBLIN (JTA) — Two senior Knesset members visited Dublin to persuade the Irish government and media that Israel’s military operation in Gaza is necessary.
Coalition Whip Yoel Hasson of the Kadima Party and House Committee Chairman Ophir Paz-Pines of the Labor Party met Monday with leaders of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, which has harshly criticized Israel for its conduct in Gaza, and with several media outlets, as part of a diplomatic effort to win influence in the European Union.
Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin has been among the most vocal critics of Israel in the E.U. since Israel launced Operation Cast Lead more than two weeks ago, repeatedly describing the offensive as "appalling." Martin also has rejected complaints from the Israeli ambassador to Ireland, Zion Evrony, that the Irish government’s stance is too critical.
The Israelis’ visit came just a day after scuffles broke out at the Israeli Embassy in Dublin when pro-Palestinian demonstrators broke through a police cordon surrounding a pro-Israel Christian group holding a prayer vigil. Numerous anti-Israel public protests have been held in Ireland since the Gaza campaign started.