Irish lower house passes bill to ban Israeli settlement goods

Israel accuses Irish parliament of hypocrisy and anti-Semitism after latter passes bill to outlaw settlement goods.

    The bill, put forward by Irish Senator Frances Black, seeks to ban import or sale of goods produced by settlements in occupied West Bank [File: Hannah McKay/Reuters]
    The bill, put forward by Irish Senator Frances Black, seeks to ban import or sale of goods produced by settlements in occupied West Bank [File: Hannah McKay/Reuters]

    The Israeli foreign ministry has reprimanded Ireland's ambassador Alison Kelly after the lower house of Irish parliament voted in favour of a bill that will ban the purchase of goods and services from the illegal Israeli settlements.

    In a statement, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was a shame that Ireland "condemns the only democratic state in the Middle East".

    "Israel is outraged over the legislation against it in the Irish parliament, which is indicative of hypocrisy and anti-Semitism," the statement said.

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    Last December, the upper house of the Irish parliament, the Seanad, voted in favour of the decision despite attempts by the United States, European powers and Israel to thwart it.

    The bill, put forward by independent Irish Senator Frances Black, seeks to ban the import or sale of goods produced by settlements in the occupied West Bank.

    It was then passed on to the Dail, the lower house of Irish parliament, by Senator Niall Collins from the largest opposition party, the Fianna Fail.

    On Thursday, the Dail overwhelmingly backed the bill by a vote of 78-45.

    'Great victory for BDS movement'

    In the aftermath, Senator Black tweeted, "Ireland will always stand for international law + human rights, & we're one step closer to making history. Onwards!"

    The bill would still go through several more stages of review and amendment before it is signed into law, but it is backed by all of Ireland's opposition groups, including the Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein, Labour, the Green Party, the independents and the Socialist Democrats.

    If passed, the law would make Ireland the first European Union country to criminalise commercial activity in the settlements.

    Mustafa Barghouti, the secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative party, said the bill is a "great victory for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS)".

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    "We will seek to pass similar laws in a number of European countries in the near future," he said.

    The BDS movement seeks to end the occupation and dismantle Israel's illegal wall and settlements, demands full equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel and calls for the rights of Palestinian refugees to be upheld.

    The movement began when a coalition of 170 Palestinian civil society groups issued a call to "people of conscience" around the world on July 9, 2005.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News