Irish senators give initial backing to West Bank settlement goods import ban

It would make Ireland the first EU country to ban the import of goods and services from settlements


Irish senators have given initial approval to a bill that would ban the import of Israeli goods produced in West Bank settlements.

The Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill passed its second stage by 25 votes to 20 on Wednesday afternoon.

It was expected to move through the remaining stages of Senate before being debated by the Dáil, the lower house of Ireland’s parliament.

If the bill becomes law, Ireland would become the first EU country to ban the import of any goods and services sourced from settlements in the Occupied Territories.

Frances Black, an independent senator who tabled the bill, wrote on Twitter: “Passed! Thank you for all the messages of support. This is a first step, but an important one.

“Today we state strongly: Ireland will always stand for int humanitarian law, justice & human rights.”

The bill looked likely to pass since last week, when the opposition Fianna Fáil party decided to support it.

Ireland’s governing Fine Gael opposed the motion, arguing that although it considered West Bank settlements illegal it was the European Union that should develop a common response.

Foreign Minister Simon Coveney lobbied opposition senators to change their position, but the party does not command a majority in parliament. If the parties maintain their support, the bill will become law.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously condemned the bill, saying: “The initiative gives backing to those who seek to boycott Israel and completely contravenes the guiding principles of free trade and justice.”

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