Though estimates put the value of settlement-made exports to Ireland at between only $580,000 and $1.1 million annually, the symbolic value of the bill and its potential to influence other European countries to follow suit has been hailed as a victory by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Image Courtesy: Hannah McKay/Reuters
Ireland has advanced a bill which will prevent the sale of goods from Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
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.
The lower house of the Irish parliament – the Dail – yesterday voted in favour of the bill as the goods procured from settlements are considered illegal under international law. The bill was previously passed through the parliament’s upper house – the Seanad – before proceeding to the lower house and receiving a 78-45 majority in favour, Al Jazeera explained.
The bill – officially known as the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill – still needs to pass several more stages before being signed into Irish law, but it is expected to progress given its broad base of support from Irish opposition parties.
Once approved, the law would see fines of up to €250,000 ($284,000) or five years in jail be handed down for those found guilty of importing or selling any goods or services originating in the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem or West Bank settlements, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“Though estimates put the value of settlement-made exports to Ireland at between only $580,000 and $1.1 million annually, the symbolic value of the bill and its potential to influence other European countries to follow suit has been hailed as a victory by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Mustafa Barghouti, the secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative party, said the bill is a “great victory for the BDS movement” and vowed that “we will seek to pass similar laws in a number of European countries in the near future,” Middle East Monitor reported.
The Israeli PMO statement added that “Instead of Ireland condemning Syria for slaughtering hundreds of thousands of civilians, Turkey for the occupation of Northern Cyprus and the terrorist organizations for murdering thousands of Israelis, it attacks Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. What a disgrace.”
Ireland has been a consistent and long-time supporter of the BDS movement.