Ireland approves boycotting Israeli settlement goods

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If passed the bill would make Ireland the first European Union country to prohibit goods originating in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. It becomes law only with the signature of the Irish president.

The vote had initially been scheduled to take place in January, but it was postponed after Irish ambassador to Israel Alison Kelly was summoned to Foreign Ministry for a clarification.

According to The Irish Times, the bill passed its first vote in the Seanad by 25 votes to 20 yesterday (11 July).

"Today the Irish Senate has sent a clear message to the global community and particularly to the rest of the European Union: the mere talking about the two-state solution is not enough without taking concrete measures".

Following the legislation's passage, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the absurdity in the Irish Senate's initiative is "that it will harm the livelihoods of many Palestinians who work in the Israeli industrial zones affected by the boycott". "It's an important step in recognising the incontestable fact that Israeli settlements are illegal and are displacing thousands of Palestinians on an ongoing basis", said Egan.

Nonetheless, Kelly added: "The government opposed the bill for legal and political reasons but support for it in Ireland is a sign of the deep concern at continued settlement activity, which we believe seriously jeopardizes the prospect for peace and the two-state solution". The legislation is now awaiting approval or disapproval from the parliament's lower chamber, the Dail Eireann or the Assembly. Spokespeople for Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is also the foreign minister, said at the time that the initiative would "give backing to those who seek to boycott Israel and completely contravenes the guiding principles of free trade and justice".

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"During the Irish Senate's debate on the bill today, the Irish Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, spoke against the bill".

Current E.U. law stipulates that Israeli products originating from beyond the pre-1967 lines can not be labeled as "Made in Israel", but does not ban products from there.

"If an engineer in Apple's Herzliya office lives in Jerusalem and telecommutes from home for a day, will Apple be at risk of providing a settlement service in violation of Irish 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. Ireland was also the first European country to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization as well. The campaign received support from over 6,000 people, including celebrities such as Charlie McGettigan and Christy Moore.

"Countries need to take a stand and put Apartheid Israel on notice that it can not continue to expand into Palestinian territory and brutalise its citizens". Once again, Ireland is making history and leading the way in its solidarity with the Palestinian people.

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