Irish Senate backs bill banning Israeli settlement goods

Israel Slams 'Immoral' Bill Passed by Ireland's Senate Outlawing Trade With West Bank Jewish Communities

Irish Senate approves West Bank settlements bill barring imports

It is estimated that the value of such imports to Ireland is up to €1 million a year.

If the bill is finally accepted, Ireland will become the first country member of the European Union, which will prohibit commercial activity on the territory of Israel. It simply identifies settler-made products for what they are: "illegal". The Palestine Liberation Organization called the move historic and urged other countries to follow suit.

"The Irish Senate has given its support to a populist, risky and extremist anti-Israel boycott initiative that hurts the chances of dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians; it will have a negative impact on the diplomatic process in the Middle East", the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Those trading with Israeli settlements are complicit in the systematic denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination.

The Seanad voted on the Bill last night, with support from Independents, Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil, and Labour - despite the Minister for Foreign Affiars Simon Coveney lobbying for its defeat. Even though there are several contentious occupations closer to Europe-including Russia's occupation of Crimea, Turkey's occupation of Northern Cyprus, and Morocco's occupation of Western Sahara-the Irish bill is drafted to apply only to Israeli settlements. Despite having more steps ahead before its approval into law, the bill has gone through its toughest hurdle and is expected to become law. That is not likely to happen, as the ruling Fine Gael Irish government wants an European Union response rather than unilateral measures.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian human rights group, Al-Haq, hailed on Thursday the passing the day before of the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018, in Ireland's upper house, Seanad Éireann, saying it shows respect for worldwide law.

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"The bill, if enacted, would put at risk Ireland's economic links to the United States, which are vital to Irish prosperity", Kittrie noted in an article for Fortune magazine.

The vote had initially been scheduled to take place in January, but it was postponed after Irish ambassador to Israel Alison Kelly was summoned to Foreign Ministry for a clarification.

"Once again, Ireland is making history and leading the way in its solidarity with the Palestinian people", she continued. The campaign received support from over 6,000 people, including celebrities such as Charlie McGettigan and Christy Moore.

"The absurdity of the Irish Senate is that the boycott will harm the livelihood of many Palestinians working in the Israeli industrial zones affected by the boycott", the statement said.

This bill comes at a time when the worldwide community continues to be complicit in aiding and abetting Israeli war crimes and violations of Palestinian rights. Many supporters of boycotts against Israel have been denied visas under the law or deported upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport.

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