An Irish bill on Israeli settlement goods could make history.
This is not an “extreme” or “radical” measure, as some have claimed. It simply identifies settler-made products for what they are: illegal. These products are made on stolen land with stolen resources.
On July 11, the upper house of the Irish parliament, the Seanad, will vote on a landmark bill that, if passed, would ban the purchase of goods and services from illegal Israeli settlements. The “Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018” was put forward by Irish independent Senator Frances Black and co-signed by Senators Alice-Mary Higgins, Lynn Ruane, Colette Kelleher, John G Dolan, Grace O’Sullivan and David Norrison on January 24 this year.
However, just six days later, the Seanad voted to delay the debate on it indefinitely after Israel protested. On January 30, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned the Irish ambassador to Israel, Alison Kelly, who explained that the Irish government did not support the bill. 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.
Six months later, on June 27, Black announced that on Twitter that the proposed law is back on the schedule for a debate in the Seanad. And just a week later, Fianna Fail (Warriors of Fal), the second-largest party in the Irish parliament, declared that it was going to back the bill, raising hopes among Palestine supporters in Ireland that it would indeed pass.
If the Seanad approves it, it would then be passed to the lower house of the parliament for a debate and vote. If passed, the bill will have to go through several more stages of review and amendment before it is signed into a law.
Although its opponents have labelled it as “radical” and claimed that it harms free trade, the bill actually enforces compliance with both international and Irish law.