Published: Sun, July 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Ireland to ban trade with illegal Israeli settlements

Ireland to ban trade with illegal Israeli settlements

Fatin Al Tamimi, herself a Palestinian-Irish citizen, said: "We in the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and Palestinians around the world, warmly welcome this historic vote, the first its kind in any Western country".

The Irish Senate has voted in favour of a bill seeking to ban the import of West Bank settlement products - a measure that still must pass several hurdles before becoming law.

Also the Foreign Ministry condemned the Irish Senate "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", the Ministry said in a statement, adding that if signed into law the measure would "have a negative impact on the diplomatic process in the Middle East..." If the Irish bill is enacted and the firms abide by it, they will be breaking United States law, which now bans U.S. firms from taking part in foreign boycotts not supported by its government.

There are now over 150 illegally established settlements in the West Bank, all in violation of International Law, as outlined in the 4th Geneva Convention. Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said the ban was logistically impossible to impose because Ireland's trade policies are tied to the EU.

Passing the bill would simply mean that Ireland is moving to modify its domestic legislation to comply with its third-state obligations under IHL. That is not likely to happen, as the ruling Fine Gael Irish government wants an European Union response rather than unilateral measures.

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In January of this year, the Israeli settlement project was declared a war crime by the International Criminal Court.

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

Currently, the USA accounts for a massive 67pc of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Ireland, so the bill could present some serious compliance issues for these corporations with presences here and in the US.

Note that today the Senate in Dublin voted in the first reading for the law, according to which trade relations with Israeli enterprises beyond the green line, will be considered a criminal offense. Despite having more steps ahead before its approval into law, the bill has gone through its toughest hurdle and is expected to become law.

Responding, Senator Mark Daly from Fianna Fail said Ireland was out on its own when supporting a Palestinian state in 1980, when there was just 30,000 settlers in Palestinian territory - now there was almost 500,000, he said. 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.

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