Ireland parliament to vote on banning Israeli illegal settlement goods

The proposal was led by Independent Senator Frances Black

The proposal was led by Independent Senator Frances Black

Ireland is on its way to becoming the first country to prohibit "the import and sales of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories". However, if passed, Ireland would become the first European country to ban settlement goods.

All parties and most independents in the Seanad Eireann (Irish Sentae), with the exception of the governing party Fine Gael, voted to refer the Bill to the committee stage, the next stage in the process of making a Bill into law.

The Irish Government has said the motion is not in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, but Netanyahu stated the Bill would "support the BDS movement and harm Israel".

The Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned Ireland's ambassador in Tel Aviv, Simon Coveney, to condemn the Senate's "absurd" initiative. Calling Israeli settlements a "war crime", she compared her proposal to Irish efforts to oppose apartheid in South Africa, adding Ireland "will always stand on the side of worldwide law, human rights and justice".

Nonetheless, Kelly added: "The government opposed the bill for legal and political reasons but support for it in Ireland is a sign of the deep concern at continued settlement activity, which we believe seriously jeopardizes the prospect for peace and the two-state solution. 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?"

Opposition Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade Niall Collins told Israel's i24 television channel that "the party (Fianna Fáil) absolutely supports turning trade with the settlements into a criminal offense".

Al Tamimi was critical of other countries' lack of action on the subject, calling it 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".

The bill was introduced by Frances Black, a well-known singer and member of the Seanad, the upper house in Ireland's Parliament.

Kelly stressed at that meeting that the initiative had been sponsored by independent representatives in the Irish Senate and was opposed by the Irish government, but also that the proposed legislation was not a BDS initiative and that the Irish government is opposed to BDS.

The bill only targets products made beyond the Green Line. The Government would prefer a unilateral, EU-led response to the settlements issue as opposed to striking out alone.

"Countries need to take a stand and put Apartheid Israel on notice that it can not continue to expand into Palestinian territory and brutalise its citizens".

But how did the Irish, who like the Jewish people have also faced centuries of persecution, end up so sympathetic to the Palestinian cause?

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