The Irish Senate voted, on Wednesday, to pass a bill to boycott the trade and importing of goods originating from illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The bill was submitted to the Senate by independent Senator Francis Black who hopes that, with support, the vital bill will become law. Palestinian ambassador Ahmed Abdelrazek, along with lawyers who worked on drafting the bill and the legislation’s sponsoring organisations Trócaire, Christian Aid and Ictu (Irish Congress of Trade Unions) all applauded the passing of the bill.
Trocaire’s CEO, Caoimhe de Barra stated, “This legislation is a vote for human rights and peace, this is a critical moment for the world to take a stand against illegal occupation”.
The bill now needs the endorsement of the lower house of the parliament, known as the Dáil Éireann, before the Irish president signs and makes it into law.
The draft bill has been met with severe criticism from Israel’s foreign minister spokeman, Emmanuel Nashon, who states that Ireland has chosen to support the “most extreme anti-Israel piece of boycott legislation in Europe”. He argues that the bill was “hateful” and that it won’t help Palestinians.
This historic move could see Ireland as the first EU country to end trade with Israeli settlements in Palestine. The Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill declares it an offense “for a person to import or attempt to import settlement goods.” It also states that those who “assist another person to import or attempt to import settlement goods” would be committing a crime punishable by up to five years in prison or a €250,000 fine.
The bill forms part of a larger international movement known as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Palestinian-led international campaign founded in 2005 with the aim of ending the occupation in Palestine.
Around 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built illegally according to international law since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian lands.
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