Israel-Hamas War

‘Lost’ cause – how one word caused a major diplomatic row

Controversy over the Taoiseach’s comment about Emily Hand’s return has focused attention on our general attitude to the Middle East conflict

Emily Hand with her father Tom after she was released by Hamas: There is a widespread perception in Israel, that Ireland takes a strongly pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli position, and has been doing so for decades. Picture: AP

“An innocent child who was lost has now been found,” read Leo Varadkar’s tweet welcoming the release of nine-year-old Emily Hand.

Ten short words in a tweet on a Saturday night which sparked a flurry of criticism from Israel, the summoning of the Irish ambassador to Israel and that country’s foreign minister lambasting the Taoiseach for having “lost his moral compass”.

While part of a much more extensive statement, the Taoiseach’s comments were interpreted by ...