Israel is clearly making a major effort to repair relations with Ireland after the Dubai passport fiasco when Irish passports were used by Mossad agents.
Writing in The New York Times yesterday Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Zion Evrony was positively gushing as he paid tribute to the Northern Irish peace process and the lessons for Israel therein.
This is a major change in tactics. For years Israel has said that there were few if any lessons to be learned for the Middle East from Northern Ireland’s peace process.
Now the Israeli ambassador has changed that perception it seems. He says the key lesson from Ireland is that both sides must give up its maximum aspiration.
“First and foremost, there is the concept that to resolve a difficult conflict, each side, while retaining its “dream” — its maximum aspiration — must be willing to forego its implementation in practice. Painful compromises were made by both sides in the Good Friday Agreement, without which no deal would have been possible.” He writes.
There is much more in that vein in a love letter to the Irish accomplishment in the peace process.
But is it too little too late?
In the same online edition Irish Foreign Minster Michael Martin (pictured above) takes aim at the Israelis after his recent visit to Gaza and makes no bones about his belief that they are turning Gaza unto a humanitarian disaster by their blockade.
The Irish are furious and rightfully so at Israel over the use of Irish passports by the death squad that killed a Hamas operative in Dubai. They believe such tactics put Irish travelers in the Middle East in real jeopardy. It is hard to argue with them.
Israel is clearly on the defensive on this one hence the New York Times soothing article. But it may be too little too late.
The town of Carrickmacross recently tore out the page devoted to the Israeli Ambassador’s visit in their welcome book. It is an example of the anti Israel sentiment current in Ireland. I doubt The New York Times article will help much.