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Israel seeks Irish response over Dublin mayor's Palestine visit

By AP Reporter

Israel's foreign ministry has summoned the Republic's ambassador to express dismay over Dublin's Sinn Fein mayor attending an "anti-Israel" event in Ramallah.

The ministry said in a statement that Israel expresses its "deep disappointment and shock" over the incident.

It said the event in the Palestinian city of Ramallah was "explicitly" against Israel and occurred as Israel commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day.

Israel expects a "public and formal" response from the Republic to his conduct, it said.

Micheal Mac Donncha participated in an Islamic conference about Jerusalem in Ramallah organised by the religious affairs adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The fate of the holy city is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mr Mac Donncha is a supporter of the movement to boycott the Jewish state.

Israel had tried to block his entry through its airport.

Mr Mac Donncha, who claimed he was unaware that he had been banned, said attempts to bar his entry failed, because officials spelt his name wrong.

"The Israeli strategic affairs minister did allow me in," he told Newstalk's breakfast show. "He said the problem was someone spelling my name wrong."

Interior Minister Arieh Deri, who ordered an inquiry after Mr Mac Donncha's arrival, said that upon his departure, he would be notified he will not be allowed back.

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