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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Ireland criminalises import of occupied territories goods

Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon replied by calling the measure hateful and unhelpful

Israeli security forces take position during clashes with Palestinians near the West Bank city of Nablus. AP
Israeli security forces take position during clashes with Palestinians near the West Bank city of Nablus. AP

Ireland's Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that will criminalise the import or sale of goods which have been produced in the occupied territories of Israel's West Bank, East Jerusalem or the Golan Heights.

The Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018 will now pass to the Dáil Éireann, the lower house in the country, where it must face more challenges before it can become law.

“Incredible — the Occupied Territories Bill has just passed all stages in Seanad Éireann! Ireland can be the first EU country to end trade in illegal #SettlementGoods,” tweeted independent Senator Frances Black, the sponsor of the bill.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon replied by calling the measure hateful and unhelpful.

“Truly incredible — the Irish Senate just approved a hateful boycott initiative against a friendly nation,” he tweeted at Black. “This will not help the Palestinians and just push their leadership further away from negotiations.”

The Israeli foreign ministry stated: “The Irish Senate (Seanad Éireann) have chosen to give their backing to the most extreme anti-Israel piece of legislation in Europe. This bill will not help a single Palestinian and is aimed at negating the historical connection between the people of Israel and the birthplace of the Jewish people.”

The legislation will make it an offense “for a person to import or attempt to import settlement goods” and those who “assist another person to import or attempt to import settlement goods” would risk up to five years in prison, if the bill become law.

“The bill seeks to prohibit the import and sale of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories,” Ms Black said on her website in June.

“Such settlements are illegal under both international humanitarian law and domestic Irish law, and result in human rights violations on the ground. Despite this, Ireland provides continued economic support through trade in settlement goods.”