Irish senate approves ban on products from Israeli settlements, Israel reacts

ER Editor: since this preliminary vote passed to restrict goods imported from the illegal Israeli settlements, Avigdor Lieberman, fulminating in predictable fashion, has called for the closure of the Israeli embassy in Dublin: Lieberman calls to shut down Israeli embassy in Ireland. We can also highly recommend Prof. Kamel Hawwash’s piece from yesterday, Ireland’s decision to advance boycott bill could be the tipping point for justice for Palestine. He sees reason for hope in the Irish Senate vote.

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Irish senate approves ban on products from Israeli settlements

Despite anger from Israel, draft bill passes first round of voting in EU precedent

Settlers.
Jewish settlers at the Migron outpost in the West Bank. Photograph: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

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Ireland’s senate has voted in favour of a bill banning the importation of products from Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, paving the way for the country to become the first EU nation to enforce a boycott.

The bill, which has faced angry Israeli opposition, prohibits “trade with and economic support for illegal settlements in territories deemed occupied under international law”.

Having been approved in the upper house of the Irish parliament, the Seanad, the legislation will now need to get through more Seanad votes and then the lower house before becoming law.

At Israel’s urging, a previously scheduled vote in January was delayed at the Irish government’s request. Israel’s foreign ministry, which is headed by the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, had summoned Ireland’s ambassador to Israel, Alison Kelly, at the time.

Israel took control of the West Bank from Jordan in 1967, an area of land on which Palestinians hope to establish an independent state. Around 600,000 settlers live in occupied territory in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights.

Benjamin Netanyahu and Prince William.
Pinterest
The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, pictured here with Prince William, has condemned the bill. Photograph: Tim Rooke/Rex Features/PA

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Estimates put the value of settlement-made products to Ireland at between only €500,000 to €1m annually, but proponents of the bill say it could chart a path for other EU states to follow.

Netanyahu has denounced the bill, saying it “gives a tailwind to those who seek to boycott Israel and is utterly contrary to the principles of free trade and justice”. The bill does not ban all Israeli products.

Frances Black, the independent senator who sponsored the bill, said in a statement before the vote that “trade in settlement goods sustains injustice”.

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