Irish ambassador: Israel’s settlement activity makes it hard to oppose BDS bill

Irish senate backs law banning trade with Israeli settlements

The bill aims to make it an offence to import or sell goods or services from Israeli settlements.

"The settlements are immoral and illegal under global law, and Ireland is the first country to practise what the whole world preaches", he said.

Welcoming the historic vote Chairperson of IPSC and Palestinian-Irish citizen, Fatin Al Tamimi thanked Senators who supported the historic Bill and encouraged Senators to continue their support until the the Bill reaches the final stage.

Senators voted in favour of the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill by 25 votes to 20, with applause rippling through the chamber after an impassioned debate.

"The Irish Senate has sent a clear message to the global community that talking about a two-state solution is not enough without taking concrete measures on the ground", Erekat said.

Also the Foreign Ministry condemned the Irish Senate "Irish Senate has given its support to a populist, unsafe and extremist anti-Israel boycott initiative that hurts the chances of dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians", the Ministry said in a statement, adding that if signed into law the measure would "have a negative impact on the diplomatic process in the Middle East..."

Israel's West Bank settlements are considered illegal under global law and are bitterly opposed by Palestinians.

Netanyahu had claimed the bill sought to "harm the state of Israel" and was an attempt to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. "But I believe... we've made the case clearly".

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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Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said on Wednesday that it risked "fanning flames" in the Middle East.

Ireland imports a number of agricultural and cosmetic settlement products, including those produced by Ahava.

Ireland's parliament, the Seanad, will vote later on Wednesday on the landmark legislation, which has support from opposition and independent lawmakers.

On January 30, when the Seanad Éireann first debated the bill, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sharply criticized the proposed legislation and ordered Kelly, the Irish ambassador, summoned for a dressing down at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.

Although its opponents have labelled it as "radical" and claimed that it harms free trade, the bill actually enforces compliance with both worldwide and Irish law.

But how did the Irish, who like the Jewish people have also faced centuries of persecution, end up so sympathetic to the Palestinian cause? "While Ireland considers Jerusalem an Israeli settlement, the USA government recognizes it as Israel's capital", stated Kittrie.

Ms Tamimi said: "We in the IPSC and we Palestinians around the world warmly welcome this historic vote, the first its kind in any Western country".

She said she visited Palestine earlier this year and, highlighting an Israel settlement which led to a Palestinian village losing its water supply to provide water for a chicken farm.

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