Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Ireland parliament to vote on banning Israeli illegal settlement goods

Ireland parliament to vote on banning Israeli illegal settlement goods

In order to become law, the bill still must pass through several obstacles.

Fatin Al Tamimi, herself a Palestinian-Irish citizen, said: "We in the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and Palestinians around the world, warmly welcome this historic vote, the first its kind in any Western country".

According to The Irish Times, the bill passed its first vote in the Seanad by 25 votes to 20 yesterday (11 July).

Black said that despite Israeli settlements being condemned as illegal by the European Union, the United Nations and Irish government, "they continue to extract valuable natural resources and agricultural produce".

"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.

Independent lawmaker Frances Black, who wrote the bill, has condemned Israeli settlements as "a gross violation of worldwide law".

"One of the points I always make to the Israelis is that I represent the government, and the government opposed the bill in January and it opposed it today", Kelly told The Jerusalem Post after the vote.

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All parties except the ruling Fine Gael endorsed the bill.

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. "On behalf of the government I am unable to agree that this bill is the way forward", Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said during the discussion that preceded the vote.

Currently, the country is importing a variety of products from illegal Israeli settlements, including fruit and vegetables, wine, plastics, big brand beauty products such as "Ahava", and others. The legislation is now awaiting approval or disapproval from the parliament's lower chamber, the Dail Eireann or the Assembly.

Israel's expansion of Jewish communities beyond the Green Line has made opposition to a BDS bill more hard, Ireland's Ambassador to Israel told The Jerusalem Post. The campaign received support from over 6,000 people, including celebrities such as Charlie McGettigan and Christy Moore. The Government would prefer a unilateral, EU-led response to the settlements issue as opposed to striking out alone.

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

"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".

Before the vote, PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi called on "the Irish people in light of our historical relationship to stand up and to reject the importation of any settlement products - because settlements are, after all, a war crime and an ongoing aggression against the Palestinian people and they want you to be complicit in this war crime".

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