"A missile attack on an apartment building, after midnight, when children and adults are asleep in their beds, is no more justifiable than a suicide bombing."...The Gaza attack was "the straw that broke the camel's back".
Irish Times (Dublin, Ireland)
July 26, 2002
GAZA ATTACK CONDEMNED BY ISRAELI PRESS OFFICER HERE
By Deaglan de Breadun
Foreign Affairs Correspondent
The position of the press officer at the Israeli Embassy in Dublin, Dr. Noreen O'Carroll, is in doubt following her public condemnation of last Monday's Gaza City air strike in a letter to Irish newspapers.
An Israeli F-16 warplane bombed a building in Gaza, killing the military chief of Hamas and 13 civilians, including nine children.
In her letter, which appears in today's Irish Times, Dr. O'Carroll says she wishes to add her voice to that of Israel's President Katsav in utterly condemning what she describes as the "horrific" attack.
Writing in her capacity as embassy press officer, she continues: "A missile attack on an apartment building, after midnight, when children and adults are asleep in their beds, is no more justifiable than a suicide bombing."
She was "appalled and ashamed" at the "cold-hearted response" of the Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. Ariel Sharon, when he described the attack as "one of our greatest successes".
Dr. O'Carroll told The Irish Times that a senior embassy official told her she "had to go", since she was a representative of the Israeli Government abroad, and he would have to consult the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem.
"I am not a diplomat, I am an Irish citizen, doing an administrative job," she said.
She was "very much a supporter" of Israel's right to exist and the right of Palestinians to a state of their own. She was "revulsed" by suicide bombings but did no think state force should be used against civilians. "Error is too benign a word to use in a context like this."
When asked why she had signed the letter in her official capacity, she said: "I don't think it would make the slightest bit of difference if I had signed it with my home address."
The letter, published in the Irish Examiner yesterday, expressed her "personal view". The Gaza attack was "the straw that broke the camel's back". She recalled the words of the writer, Primo Levi, that "Silence is complicity."
Dr. O'Carroll, a former teacher, provided a copy of a complimentary reference from the former Israeli ambassador, Mr. Mark Sofer, dated July 5th, which describes her as "highly intelligent" with "well-thought-out and thought-provoking views on all issues under her purview".
An embassy spokesman declined to comment on the dispute.