Palestinian ambassador criticises ‘non-transparent’ organisation of TCD event

Palestinian Mission says invitation did not say ambassador would appear with others

The Mission of the State of Palestine in Ireland said the organisers of an event at Trinity College Dublin did not make make clear that its ambassador Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid (above) would be appearing alongside the Ambassador to Israel. Photograph: Mission of the State of Palestine in Ireland

The Mission of the State of Palestine in Ireland has criticised the "non-transparent" organisation of an event at Trinity College Dublin which saw its ambassador appear alongside the Ambassador to Israel.

Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid of Palestine and Ophir Kariv of Israel both spoke last Monday at the event organised by Sonar Diplomacy, a non-profit which promotes multiculturalism and diplomacy.

Sonor said it was the first time ambassadors from both nations took part in a joint forum.

In a statement after the event the Palestinian Mission said the invitation issued to Palestinian Ambassador Dr Wahba Abdalmajid did not say she would be appearing alongside others.


“It was presented as a live interview with the ambassador only. This is not normal protocol for events featuring members of the diplomatic service and the ambassador should have been informed of the presence of other guests in the initial invitation… Diplomatic protocols must be respected at all times,” the Mission said.

A press release issued after the event by Sonar Diplomacy, “did not mention that the presence of the Palestinian Ambassador was secured in a non-transparent manner”, the Mission statement continues.

A media invitation issued to The Irish Times prior to the event stated there would be a “conversation with official representatives from both the State of Israel and the State of Palestine.”

This invitation added: “We already count on the presence of Her Excellency the Ambassador of Palestine. We will have a very strict moderation to ensure a smooth and peaceful conversation.”

On Saturday, Sonar Diplomacy issued a statement saying they “acknowledge and regret” the lack of transparency in the organisation of the event at Trinity College.

Sonar said their president will respond to the Palestinian Ambassador with “apologies and explanations”.

“We deeply regret any of the confusions and frustrations which arose. They were not at all intended.”

Sonor said measures will be taken internally to ensure better transparency towards embassy partners in future.

Sonar said it always tries to respect diplomatic and official protocols and will continue to improve its approaches.

“We have successfully worked with more than fifteen embassies already, all of which gave us positive feedback.”

The organisation said it still “believes in the format of providing a platform to all sides of any conflict”. The board members “do not regret the event itself, merely how it was brought about in this specific case”.

“Her Excellency Ambassador Wahba and His Excellency Ambassador Kariv both had a fair and equal platform to express their views individually on an Ambassador’s contribution to a conflict happening abroad, namely the Israel-Palestine conflict.

“Ambassadors have not been pushed into any uncomfortable situation during the event.”

The statement said both ambassadors expressed “clear and strong satisfaction” with he event after it concluded.

“Both clearly stated to us that they might be taking part in a joint interview if good conditions are agreed upon,” the statement adds.

The Israeli Ambassador has been approached for comment.

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan

Ellen O'Riordan is High Court Reporter with The Irish Times