Irish envoy summoned for anti-settlement bill

12 Juillet, 2018, 16:00 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Irish senate backs law banning trade with Israeli settlements

Legislators in Ireland's Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that will prohibit "the import or sale of goods and services" from Jewish communities in the West Bank, deemed to have been under Israeli "occupation" since the June 1967 Six-Day War.

The campaign organisation Avaaz hailed the "unprecedented" vote and said: "Irish citizens, trade unions and civil society like Senator Black are determined to take advantage of this momentum for sanctions to become law".

The Israeli Foreign Ministry responded to the decision saying that "the Irish Senate has given its hand to an aggressive, risky and radical populist anti-Israel boycott initiative that undermines prospects for a dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians". Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal under global law.

Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, who did not back the bill, warned it risked "fanning flames" in the Middle East. The ministry said the bill "will harm the livelihoods of many Palestinians who work in the Israeli industrial zones affected by the boycott".

"Israel will consider its response in accordance with developments regarding the legislation", he said. The EU, which criticizes settlement building, did introduce rules in 2015 calling for products from settlements to be clearly labeled as such.

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"This courageous step builds on the historic ties between Ireland and Palestine, as well as it shows the way forward for the rest of the European Union", he said.

Israel summoned the Irish ambassador for clarification over the proposed legislation when it was first introduced in January.

"The settlements are immoral and illegal under worldwide law, and Ireland is the first country to practise what the whole world preaches", he said.

"The status quo has failed... that is why we are seeking a change", said Senator Colette Kelleher, who co-signed the bill.

But those opposed to the move said it could draw Ireland into trade disputes over contested territories in places like China, Cyprus and Crimea.

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