TEL AVIV – The Irish senate on Wednesday advanced a controversial bill to boycott the sale or import of products from Israeli settlements.
The Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018 still requires approval from the Irish House before it becomes law. It will need to go through several rounds of debates as well pass two more stages before being sent to the House where it will be subjected to more debates. The next step is scheduled for a vote on Tuesday.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry blasted Ireland over the legislation, saying that the “Irish Senate has given its support to a populist, dangerous and extremist anti-Israel boycott initiative that hurts the chances of dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians.”
The Foreign Ministry added that the law will “have a negative impact on the diplomatic process in the Middle East” and “harm the livelihood of many Palestinians who work in the Israeli industrial zones affected by the boycott.”
The Palestine Liberation Organization, meanwhile, expressed its “sincere appreciation” for those pushing the bill.
Senior PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat described it as a “historic motion banning trade with the illegal Israeli colonial-settlements in Occupied Palestine. This courageous step builds on the historic ties between Ireland and Palestine, as well as it shows the way forward for the rest of the European Union.”
He said that adopting such “concrete measures” were key to the Palestinians, and “those trading with Israeli settlements are complicit in the systematic denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination.”
The Irish opposition party Fianna Fáil said it hoped the passage of the bill would “mark the beginning of a new stage in which Israel starts to pay an international political, economic and moral price for its actions,” and was “a new stage in treating the Zionist lobby as a danger to the values that Europe claims to represent.”