Israel announced on Tuesday it had barred Dublin Lord Mayor Mícheál Mac Donncha from entering the country – while he was already in the West Bank city of Ramallah after having flown in through Tel Aviv.
The Interior Ministry later admitted Mac Donncha had entered Israel due to a typo.
The announcement, by both the interior and the strategic affairs ministries, said Mac Donncha would be denied entry to Israel over his ties to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
The Strategic Affairs Ministry, charge with fighting the delegitimization of Israel, said in the statement the reason for the decision was Mac Donncha's ties with the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which promotes boycotts of Israeli companies and international companies who work in Israel.
According to the ministry, the mayor promoted the IPSC's ideas through the city council and publicly expressed support for them. Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said that "the policy I set is clear: He who works consistently to boycott Israel will not enter here."
Minutes after Haaretz reported about the announcement, Mac Donncha tweeted that he was already in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The Interior Ministry confirmed to Haaretz that Mac Donncha had entered the country, saying initially that he must have arrived before the ministry's instruction was delivered.
Later, the Interior Ministry admitted Mac Donncha was able to enter Israel due to the fact the order spelled his name wrong, so it didn't match the spelling in his passport. A spokesman for Interior Ministry Arye Dery admitted, "We made a mistake at the border crossing."
A source familiar with the details blamed the Strategic Affairs Ministry, saying officials at the ministry provided the incorrect name.
In January, Israel summoned the Irish ambassador in Israel for clarification and to express dissatisfaction in light of a proposed bill in Ireland's national parliament calling for a boycott of Israeli settlements.
Ambassador Alison Kelly said then that her government opposed the legislation, which was subsequently postponed.
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