Irish Senate backs bill banning Israeli settlement goods Europe News

Irish senate backs law banning trade with Israeli settlements

The Occupied Territories Bill was first introduced by a senator in January, but was delayed at the request of Ireland's minority government, headed by the Fine Gael party, which does not support it despite denouncing Israel's settlements policy. If passed, the bill will have to go through several more stages of review and amendment before it is signed into a law. It suggests that simple labelling is not enough and proposes to enforce worldwide law by banning goods produced within illegal settlements.

Senators voted in favour of the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill by 25 votes to 20, with applause rippling through the chamber after an impassioned debate. The Government is strongly opposed to the passage of the bill and An Tánaiste Simon Coveney, TD, has lobbied members of Fianna Fáil against it.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs praised the Irish Senate for the decision, "that many other countries have avoided to make for years", despite previous resolutions to label products from illegal Israeli settlements according to the 2015 European Union regulations. "Israel is becoming more and more fascist, and global law is only weakening in the face of Israeli intransigence", Zoabi 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?" Spokespeople for Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is also the foreign minister, said at the time that the initiative would "give backing to those who seek to boycott Israel and completely contravenes the guiding principles of free trade and justice".

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. The legislation will go to Ireland's lower house of parliament for approval.

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.

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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.

"If an engineer in Apple's Herzliya office lives in Jerusalem and telecommutes from home for a day, will Apple be at risk of providing a settlement service in violation of Irish law?"

There is worldwide consensus on the illegality of these settlements.

"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". The Palestine Liberation Organization called the move historic and urged other countries to follow suit. Once again, Ireland is making history and leading the way in its solidarity with the Palestinian people.

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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