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Ireland passes landmark bill to ban Israeli settlement goods

Israeli officials reacted with outrage to the Irish bill. [Getty]

Date of publication: 25 January, 2019

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Officials in Israel reacted with outrage after Ireland's parliament voted in favour of a bill to ban the sale of goods and services from illegal Israeli settlements.
The Irish parliament on Thursday voted in favour of a bill that will prohibit the sale of goods and services from illegal Israeli settlements, leading to swift recriminations from Israeli officials.

Ireland's Senate in December approved the landmark Occupied Territories Bill submitted by Senator Frances Black.

The legislation declares it an offence for a person to "import or attempt to import settlement goods", "sell settlement products", or "provide services to Israeli settlements".

After the vote last year, the bill still required approval from the lower house of the Irish parliament, the Dail, before being enacted.

It passed overwhelmingly on Thursday by a vote of 78-45.

"Amazing! First the Seanad, now the Dáil: an overwhelming majority have voted for the Occupied Territories Bill 2018 and a ban on illegal #SettlementGoods!" Black wrote on Twitter.

"Ireland will always stand for international law + human rights, & we're one step closer to making history."

The legislation still has to go through several more stages of amendments and review before being signed into law, but it is backed by all of Ireland's opposition parties.

If passed, Ireland would become the first EU country to impose such a ban criminalising Israeli settlement activity.

"Brilliant! As always, Frances, the Irish get it. You have our gratitude & admiration," PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi said following the vote.

Mustafa Barghouti, head of the independent Palestinian National Initiative party, said the bill was a "great victory for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement”.

The BDS campaign advocates boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israeli businesses, universities and artists.

Comparing itself to the anti-apartheid movement during apartheid-era South Africa, it says it is using nonviolent means to resist unjust policies toward Palestinians.

Israeli officials, meanwhile, reacted with outrage to the motion, with the Irish ambassador to Israel summoned for a reprimand on Friday.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement that the Irish measure reflected "hypocrisy and anti-Semitism."

Israel has built over 200 settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights since capturing and occupying the Palestinian and Syrian territories in 1967.

Around 400,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements, while a further 200,000 live in settlements in occupied east Jerusalem.

The international community considers the settlements to be illegal and a key barrier to peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

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