Irish Senate approves West Bank settlements bill barring imports

Saturday, 14 Jul, 2018

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

However, now that "three opposition parties - Labour, Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail - have announced that they will support the bill", as well as "several independents", the "bill is now expected to pass".

The Bill, which was opposed by the Irish Government, will now go to the lower chamber of the Irish Parliament to be debated.

"Today the Irish Senate has sent a clear message to the worldwide community and particularly to the rest of the European Union: the mere talking about the two-state solution is not enough without taking concrete measures".

"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.

All of these are already clearly labelled as products from illegal Israeli settlements under the new European Union labelling regulations issued in 2015 - ie, they can not be labelled "Made in Israel".

Netanyahu had claimed the bill sought to "harm the state of Israel" and was an attempt to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Israeli bulldozers are seeking to clear residents from the village and destroy the properties which remain to make way for the extension of a settlement, and on Wednesday [11 June] set up concrete barriers to prevent Palestinians from entering the village to support villagers resisting the clearing.

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.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney voiced the government's opposition to the bill during a debate at the Senate.

Ireland's Senate approved legislation to boycott products made in Israeli settlements.

Kelly stressed at that meeting that the initiative had been sponsored by independent representatives in the Irish Senate and was opposed by the Irish government, but also that the proposed legislation was not a BDS initiative and that the Irish government is opposed to BDS.

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. It becomes law only with the signature of the Irish president.

Proponents of the measure argued Israel is profiting from its illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories and the stalled peace process shows no signs of yielding a resolution.

Israel's Foreign Ministry has held the government accountable for the vote and has summoned Kelly to its offices for a Thursday meeting.

Chairperson of the Irish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, Ms Fatin Al Tamimi, also welcomed today's vote, saying "We in the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and Palestinians around the world, warmly welcome this historic vote, the first of its kind in any Western country".

Kinvara has a tradition of supporting the Palestinian people.