Belfast City Hall
Belfast City HalliStock

The City Council of Belfast in Northern Ireland has passed a motion calling on the governments of the United Kingdom and Ireland to expel Israel’s ambassadors to those countries, JTA reported on Friday.

In addition to the vote in Belfast, the capital of the British region of Northern Ireland, pro-Palestinian Arab students and activists staged a sit-in protest on Thursday in front of the Foreign Ministry of Ireland in Dublin. They blocked the entrance for hours, waving signs urging Ireland to expel the Israeli ambassador.

The motion calls on the municipality to urge Ireland and the U.K. “to expel from office Israeli ambassadors, with immediate effect.”

It passed with votes from left-wing parties including Sinn Fein, the council’s largest party with 18 seats out of 60.

Opposition parties voiced their disapproval of the motion.

“The Jews are the original indigenous inhabitants of Palestine and as such have the right to exist as a nation state,” said John Kyle of the Progressive Unionist Party of Northern Ireland. “Israel is confronted by organizations which do not recognize its right to exist … and this is antisemitism.”

Ireland’s government recently supported a parliamentary motion condemning the “de facto annexation of Palestinian land by Israel”. The motion was tabled by the opposition Sinn Fein party.

Two weeks earlier, the Israeli government summoned Ireland’s ambassador after Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney publicly condemned Israel’s counter-terror operations in the Gaza Strip.

Coveney had decried Israel’s air campaign against terrorists in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip as “brutal”, and said Israel “should be condemned”.

In 2019, the Irish parliament approved a law promoting a boycott of Judea and Samaria products.

In 2014, Irish lawmakers approved a non-binding symbolic motion urging their government to recognize “Palestine” as a state.

In 2018, Coveney said Ireland may recognize a Palestinian state if peace talks with Israel aimed at producing a two-state solution continue to stagnate.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)