Ireland approves bill boycotting Israeli settlement goods

Elias Hubbard
July 12, 2018

Irish senators voted in favor of the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill by 25 votes to 20 on Wednesday.

The bill, which passed its second reading on Tuesday, still has eight more procedural hurdles to jump, including a vote in the Irish Parliament's House of Representatives, before it can be signed into law by the Irish president.

Observing that in 2017, the US accounted for 67% of all foreign direct investment in Ireland, Kittrie warned that "this bill could make US companies with divisions or subsidiaries in Ireland, Irish companies with divisions or subsidiaries in the US, and their employees who are Irish citizens or resident in Ireland, choose between violating the Irish law or violating the anti-boycott provisions of the US Export Administration Regulations".

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

The Irish government said the measure, unprecedented for a European Union member, was unworkable because it would impose a trade barrier within the European Union's single market and could harm Irish influence in the region. 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".

The Israeli Foreign Ministry responded to the decision saying that "the Irish Senate has given its hand to an aggressive, unsafe and radical populist anti-Israel boycott initiative that undermines prospects for a dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians".

"Israel will consider its response in accordance with developments regarding the legislation", he said.

Israel has acted angrily to such moves in the past, heavily criticising the European Union after it backed labelling products produced in its settlements in 2015.

Saeb Erekat, senior leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organistion, called the move by Ireland's upper house, Senead, "historic" and urge other countries to do the same.

Israel summoned the Irish ambassador for clarification over the proposed legislation when it was first introduced in January.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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