Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman speaks to the press during a visit at the Israel-Syria border in the annexed-Golan Heights on July 10, 2018. Lieberman called for the "immediate" closure of Israel's embassy in Dublin on July 12, 2018, after the Irish Senate voted to ban imports of products of Israeli settlements. (JALAA MAREY / AFP)
JERUSALEM - Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday called for the "immediate" closure of Israel's embassy in Dublin after the Irish Senate voted to ban imports of products of Israeli settlements.
The remarks followed Israel's Foreign Ministry summoning the Irish ambassador in Tel Aviv in the wake of the vote in the Irish upper house, or Seanad, on Wednesday.
There is no point in summoning the Ambassador of Ireland for a "reprimand". Israel needs to immediately close the embassy in Ireland. We don't turn the other cheek to those who boycott us
Avigdor Lieberman, Minister of Defense, Israel
"There is no point in summoning the Ambassador of Ireland for a 'reprimand,'" Lieberman said in a tweet on his Twitter account.
"Israel needs to immediately close the embassy in Ireland. We don't turn the other cheek to those who boycott us," the hawkish minister wrote.
The 25-20 vote marked the first time a European parliament has endorsed a boycott of goods produced in settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories.
The bill, which the Irish government opposes, still needs to be approved by the Irish lower house before it becomes law.
Palestinian Secretary General Saeb Erekat expressed "sincere appreciation" to the Irish Senate's move.
He urged other European countries to follow suit. "If some countries within the EU are willing to continue encouraging Israel's culture of impunity, it is time for individual member-state to take legitimate actions like the one approved by the Seanad," said Erekat.
Israel's Foreign Ministry criticized the bill, saying that "the Irish Senate has given its support to a populist, dangerous and extremist anti-Israel boycott initiative that hurts the chances of dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians."
The ministry said it will consider "its response in accordance with developments regarding this legislation."
Israel seized the West Bank, together with the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, in the 1967 Middle East war and has built many Jewish settlements on the Palestinian territories.
ISRAEL TO SUMMON EU AMBASSADOR OVER CRITICISM OF JEWISH STATE BILL
In a separate incident, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret will be summoned for reportedly criticizing the Jewish Nation-State bill.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, July 8, 2018. Netanyahu said on July 12 that EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret will be summoned for reportedly criticizing the Jewish Nation-State bill. (ABIR SULTAN / POOL PHOTO / AP)
The controversial bill defines Israel as a "Jewish State" and allows the establishment of Jewish-only communities where no Arabs, Israel's largest minority, would be allowed to live.
Netanyahu instructed Director-General of the Foreign Ministry Yuval Rotem to reprimand Giaufret, said the Prime Minister's office in a statement.
Earlier, Channel 2 TV news reported that Giaufret told lawmakers of the ruling Likud party that the controversial legislation will "discriminate against groups, especially against Arabs, and harms the values that Israel is trying to uphold."
The bill was endorsed by the government, but it still needs to undergo two full rounds of votes in the 120-seat parliament, where it will need a 61-member majority before it becomes law.
Netanyahu expressed support to the bill, while Israeli President Reuven Rivlin warned the bill is "discriminatory" and might trigger international criticism against Israel.