Israel has ordered back its ambassador from Ireland, after its foreign affairs minister called the decision by the Irish Government and other nations to recognise Palestine a “distorted step”.

Ireland announced on Wednesday that it will formally recognise the state of Palestine, with premier Simon Harris saying the country is joining Norway and Spain in making the historic move.

Israel’s foreign minister Israel Katz then accused Ireland of undermining its sovereignty and endangering its security, saying he has ordered Ambassador Dana Erlich to return to Israel.

“I have instructed the immediate recall of Israel’s ambassadors to Ireland and Norway for consultations in light of these countries’ decisions to recognise a Palestinian state,” Mr Katz said on social media site X.

“I’m sending a clear and unequivocal message to Ireland and Norway: Israel will not remain silent in the face of those undermining its sovereignty and endangering its security.

“Today’s decision sends a message to the Palestinians and the world: Terrorism pays.

“After the Hamas terror organisation carried out the largest massacre of Jews since the Holocaust, after committing heinous sexual crimes witnessed by the world, these countries chose to reward Hamas and Iran by recognising a Palestinian state.

“This distorted step by these countries is an injustice to the memory of the victims of 7/10, a blow to efforts to return the 128 hostages, and a boost to Hamas and Iran’s jihadists, which undermines the chance for peace and questions Israel’s right to self-defence.

“Israel will not remain silent – there will be further severe consequences.

“The Irish-Norwegian folly does not deter us; we are determined to achieve our goals: restoring security to our citizens, dismantling Hamas, and bringing the hostages home.

“There are no more just causes than these.”

Ms Erlich told Newstalk radio that she was being recalled to discuss “possible steps and the future of our relations”.

The Israeli embassy in Ireland also released a statement saying it views Ireland’s move as “undermining its sovereignty and security” and as “damaging to our bilateral relations”.

“We are disappointed by the Irish government’s decision on recognition, which follows worrying initiatives and statements in recent months,” it said in a statement.

Reacting to the statement, Mr Harris said Israel “loses nothing” from the recognition of the state of Palestine.

Simon Harris
Taoiseach Simon Harris said there must be a two-state solution (Damien Storan/PA)

“We need to see a two-state solution,” he said. “A solution that recognises the state of Israel, recognises the state of Palestine and recognises that both have a right to exist in peace, security and stability in the region.

“We must now, in the face of huge adversity and huge challenge, keep the destination of a two-state solution alive.

“We must be on the right side of history. When people look back on this period of time in the decades ahead, I want to be able to say proudly that Ireland spoke up and spoke out in favour of international law, in favour of a political pathway to peace, and in favour of two-state solution.”

Ireland’s deputy premier Michel Martin said: “In respect of minister Katz’s contribution and statement, part of that statement does say that the route is to direct negotiations. I’d agree with that aspect of the statement.

“We do need negotiations. Recognition of a Palestinian state creates that equal status in terms of Palestinians going to that table.

“But I’d also remind foreign minister Katz that there had been negotiations prior to this war, in Aqaba and Sharm El-Sheikh.

“Firm agreements were reached but they were not implemented and those were in respect of the settlements, for example, and the violent settlers in the West Bank and there was an agreement that that would cease.

“There was an urgent need to get back to the negotiating table and to get on to a political track and the recognition of a Palestinian state is part of the Arab Peace Initiative.”

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the Irish Ambassador Sonya McGuinness, as well as her Spanish and Norwegian counterparts, had been summoned to the Israeli foreign ministry.

Mr Katz said he had issued a “severe demarche” to the ambassadors, in which they were to be shown “video of the brutal and cruel kidnapping” of Israeli children by Hamas.

Ms McGuinness said the decision to recognise a Palestinian state is to allow a future where Israelis and Palestinians “live in security and dignity”.

In an opinion piece published in Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Ms McGuinness said there can be “no sustainable solution to the current crisis” without a clear, irreversible political pathway towards this solution.

“I recognise that in the current context, and to many Israeli ears, this sounds at best, naive, and at worst, destructive and dangerous. It is neither,” she added.

“Recognition of a Palestinian state is not a reward for terror – it is the opposite.

“It is an endorsement of a vision of Palestinian self-determination in which a free and independent Palestine accepts both the rights and the duties of a state, including full adherence to the UN Charter and pursuit of its aims through exclusively political and diplomatic means.”