Irish senate advances boycott bill criminalizing trade with Israeli settlements

Israel Slams 'Immoral' Bill Passed by Ireland's Senate Outlawing Trade With West Bank Jewish Communities

Ireland is moving closer to boycotting all goods produced by Israeli settlements established in territories occupied since 1967, and to considering trade with these settlements a criminal offense.

The Irish Government has said the motion is not in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, but Netanyahu stated the Bill would "support the BDS movement and harm Israel".

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Wednesday that it risked "fanning flames" in the Middle East. Earlier this year the United Nations Human Rights Council published a report on the role businesses play in Israel's violations of global humanitarian law, "contributing to Israel's confiscation of land, facilitate the transfer of its population into the Occupied Palestinian Territory and. the exploitation of Palestine's natural resources".

Speaking in the Senate on Wednesday, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney of the Fine Gael Party, said that such a boycott is logistically impossible due to Ireland's trade being tied up within the larger European Union, and that Ireland should not push ahead of the worldwide community on the issue, "however strongly it might appeal to our sense of right".

"We may have a long path ahead of us", said Senator Frances Black, the bill's author.

Immediately after the vote the Foreign Ministry summoned Irish Ambassador Alison Kelly for a meeting on Thursday to defend the legislation, even though the government has opposed it. The U.S.in 2017 accounted for 67 percent of all foreign direct investment in Ireland.

"These settlements are war crimes, and it's time for Ireland to show some leadership and refuse to support them". Many components inside Apple's iPhones are made in Israel.

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. Palestinian rights groups praised the bill, urging other nations to follow Ireland's lead. It still faces several hurdles before it becomes law.

The UK Government has formally objected to the erasure of Khan Al-Ahmar, supporting the position of the United Nations that settlements are illegal under worldwide law, but has been criticised by Labour for offering nothing in the way of concrete actions to back up this objection.

Al Tamimi was critical of other countries' lack of action on the subject, calling it 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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