Dublin mayor slips past Israeli watch list
JERUSALEM - Israel ordered a probe Wednesday into how Dublin's mayor, barred from entry over alleged anti-Israel activity, passed unchallenged through immigration at Tel Aviv airport, reportedly due to a spelling error.
Irish nationalist Lord Mayor Michael Mac Donncha entered Israel on Tuesday evening, headed on a visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri wrote on his Twitter account Tuesday that the Sinn Fein politician would be stopped and sent home.
"The mayor of Dublin wants to enter Israel so that he can incite against us," he said. "He will not enter!"
But a short while later Mac Donncha announced that he was already in the Palestinian city of Ramallah, where he had been invited to attend a conference set for Wednesday night on the disputed status of Jerusalem.
Israeli daily Haaretz said the ban order sent to airport immigration officials misspelled Mac Donncha's name and he did not therefore show up on the watch list.
The paper said he has ties with the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which promotes a boycott of Israeli businesses and foreign firms who trade in the Jewish state.
It said Israel's interior ministry and strategic affairs ministry blamed each other for the mixup.
An interior ministry statement on Wednesday said Deri had ordered an inquiry into "how the mayor of Dublin got into the country yesterday evening despite an order barring him from entry for anti-Israel activity".
Deri said the "inquiry is essential to avoid such breakdowns in future", adding that when Mac Donncha departs for home he would be given a letter forbidding him from entering Israeli territory in the future.
Air and sea passengers travelling to the West Bank must pass through Israel, while the land border between the territory and Jordan is controlled by Israeli security and immigration officials.