Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Ireland approves boycotting Israeli settlement goods

Ireland approves boycotting Israeli settlement goods

The proposed law, which passed 25 to 20 to make it an offence to trade in such goods and services, was introduced by independent senator Frances Black and drew support from all Ireland's major political parties except the governing Fine Gael party.

Israeli actions in Judea and Samaria make it hard for the Irish government to oppose a pending bill criminalizing trade with Israeli companies based in Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria, Ireland's Ambassador to the Israel Alison Kelly told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) have welcomed a Seanad vote in favour of the Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) bill.

"The absurd in the Irish Senate's initiative is that it will harm the livelihoods of many Palestinians who wo work in the Israeli industrial zones affected by the boycott", he said. There is a clear hypocrisy here: "How can we condemn the settlements as 'unambiguously illegal, ' as theft of land and resources, but happily buy the proceeds of this crime?"

It, however, is a shame that Ireland was forced to take this first step alone, as the European Union seems more interested in appeasing Israeli colonialism and oppression than in defending the rights of Palestinians.

In 2015, the European Union issued guidelines for the labeling of products from Israeli settlements, which it considers illegal and says are an obstacle to peace.

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney TD opposed the Bill. To become law, it must be ratified by the lower house of parliament.

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On January 30, when the Seanad Éireann first debated the bill, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sharply criticized the proposed legislation and ordered Kelly, the Irish ambassador, summoned for a dressing down at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem. "The bill is focused [solely] on the sale of products from settlements and not on trade within the Green Line".

Responding, Senator Mark Daly from Fianna Fail said Ireland was out on its own when supporting a Palestinian state in 1980, when there was just 30,000 settlers in Palestinian territory - now there was almost 500,000, he said.

Proponents of the measure argued Israel is profiting from its illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories and the stalled peace process shows no signs of yielding a resolution.

The bill does not name Israel but instead refers to an "occupying power" and "illegal settler".

As such, Kittrie believes that Israel needs to do a better job in improving the country's image in Ireland.

On Tuesday, the Palestine Liberation Organisation urged Irish lawmakers to vote for the bill, the official Palestinian news agency reported.

She said she visited Palestine earlier this year and, highlighting an Israel settlement which led to a Palestinian village losing its water supply to provide water for a chicken farm.

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