Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris
Irish Prime Minister Simon HarrisReuters/Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto

Ireland's newly appointed Prime Minister, Simon Harris, on Tuesday criticized Israel and said its sense of reason has been "replaced by revenge" as he addressed recent tensions between the Israeli and Irish governments.

Speaking to CNN, in his first television interview since being appointed last week, Harris hit back at recent criticisms from the Israeli foreign ministry and the Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Dana Erlich, accusing the country of being "on the wrong side of history" when it comes to the war in Gaza.

Those criticisms came after Harris used his first speech after being elected leader to condemn Israel's war in Gaza and said that "men, women, and children are being slaughtered" there, while failing to mention the hostages being held by Hamas.

"Excuse me for finding it a little bit hard to see where the representative of the (Benjamin) Netanyahu government is talking about being on the wrong side because I think the actions of the Netanyahu government right now, in terms of allowing this humanitarian catastrophe to unfold in Gaza, and the impact on women, children, civilians and civilian infrastructure is profound," Harris told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

He went on to say that "Ireland is extraordinarily clear in its condemnation of Hamas ... and of the right of Israel to be able to live in safety and security. But we also believe that reason has now been replaced by revenge."

The Prime Minister doubled down on his call for "an immediate cessation of hostilities" in Gaza alongside his plan to convince fellow European Union leaders to formally recognize the “state of Palestine”. Harris laid out his belief that a peaceful solution to the war in Gaza "involves a number of countries that are like-minded coming together to recognize the state of Palestine."

Relations between Israel and Ireland have been tense in recent years. Former Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar recently launched a tirade against Israel, accusing the country of becoming "blinded by rage" as it doubles down on plans to launch a ground offensive on the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

Varadkar previously caused an uproar in November, after he said that nine-year-old Emily Hand, a dual resident of Ireland and Israel who was freed from Hamas captivity, “was lost [and] has now been found and returned.

However, no mention was made of the fact that Hand was held by Hamas terrorists for 50 days, or of the attack they perpetrated in Israel on October 7 when they abducted Hand and more than 200 other people.

President Isaac Herzog later responded to Varadkar’s comments and said that "the statement by the Prime Minister of Ireland regarding the release of Emily Hand was unacceptable. Emily was not lost. Emily was not out for a walk and lost her way. Emily was kidnapped at gunpoint by monstrous and vile murderers, and was held in captivity without any connection with her family, with the world, not even with the Red Cross."