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Ireland to Boycott Israeli Settlement Goods

14 July 2018

In a historic vote, the Irish Senate passed a bill prohibiting the import of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements.

Nonetheless, Irish Sen. Frances Black, who sponsored the legislation, called on colleagues to support the bill "to state firmly that Irish foreign policy will always stand on the side of global law, human rights and justice".

The Irish Parliament on Wednesday became close to ratifying a new proposal into law that would ban any kind of economic trade with Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Israel reacted angrily to the proposal calling it "populist, risky and extremist", while a spokesperson for the PLO expressed "sincere appreciation" for the initiative.

Bill passed through the Irish parliament's upper house, the Seanad, yesterday by 25 votes to 20, and will now advance to the committee stage.

"The Irish government has consistently opposed the policy of Boycott Divestment and Sanctions in relation to Israel and we regularly say this publicly", she said.

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In a statement, Israel's Foreign Ministry criticized the Irish Senate for supporting "a populist, unsafe and extremist anti-Israel boycott initiative".

Calling Israeli settlements a "war crime", she compared her proposal to early Irish efforts to oppose apartheid in South Africa, adding Ireland "will always stand on the side of worldwide law, human rights and justice". But this Bill asks Irish govt to do something it is not legally empowered to do - trade is an European Union competence, not an Irish one. 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?" "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.

There are at least 126 settlements in the West Bank excluding East Jerusalem, according to a September 2016 report from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics.

In the U.S. Senate, a bill doing the opposite has been proposed.

Current E.U. law stipulates that Israeli products originating from beyond the pre-1967 lines can not be labeled as "Made in Israel", but does not ban products from there.

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".

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"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?" The campaign received support from over 6,000 people, including celebrities such as Charlie McGettigan and Christy Moore.

"The Irish Government has always condemned construction of illegal settlement".

"Stand up for what you believe in and hold Israel to account".

The Israeli foreign ministry said the bill would have a negative impact on diplomatic processes and said it is monitoring the development of the bill before it responds; the Palestine Liberation Organization praised the move as "courageous".

"Once again, Ireland is making history and leading the way in its solidarity with the Palestinian people", she continued.

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Ireland to Boycott Israeli Settlement Goods