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Seanad votes to ban imports from Israeli settlements

The Seanad has voted in favour of a ban on importing goods originating from illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine.

Seanad Éireann voted on the Occupied Territories (Settlement Goods) Bill today. This bill, introduced by Independent Senator Frances Black, would prohibit trade between Ireland and the illegal settlements.

The bill passed by 25 votes to 20 with Independent senators and those in Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Labour in favour of it.

Palestinian farmer Muna al-Taneeb, from the West Bank, with Irish senator Frances Black outside Leinster House today. Photo: Crispin Rodwell/AP Images for Avaaz

Senator Black welcomed the "historic" vote, saying that she was "delighted" to see the bill pass today.

"The level of support is a testament to the fact that this is not a radical ask - we are simply saying that, if we are sure that certain goods have been produced as a result of war crimes, we should not be trading in them.

"To me, that is the bare minimum that should be expected of an EU Member State and a country proudly committed to justice and human rights. Otherwise there is a clear hypocrisy - how can we condemn the settlements as illegal, as theft of land and resources, but happily trade in the proceeds of this crime?"

The legislation would ban trade in goods produced in illegal settlements in occupied territories, including Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian 'West Bank'.

The bill does not ban Israeli products, only goods produced in settlements established beyond its borders.

The proposal was first debated in January, but postponed for six months to allow the Government to work on diplomatic measures.

The Workers' Party also welcomed the passing of the bill.

Speaking following the vote this evening, Cllr. Ted Tynan (Workers' Party, Cork) said: "This victory was hard-won, fought for decades by campaigners for the rights of the Palestinian people.

"It proves once again that political change can be won by concerted grassroots action. Its been shown time and time again that politicians respond to this pressure."

[quote]"Minister Coveney says this bill is not legal since it is not done via the European Union. But in fact, it is only through bills such as this one that we can push back against the totally illegal incursions by the Israeli state into Palestinian territory."[/quote]

Cllr. Tynan concluded by calling on Fine Gael to reverse its stance on the bill: "Fine Gael can see now how any vote in the Dáil on this bill is likely to proceed. They should recognise the lay of the land, shift their position, and commit to voting for the bill in the Dáil.

"Our country is quick - often too quick - to endorse damaging sanctions when called for by the United States, in places like Russia. The ban on Israeli settlement goods is far more modest, and far more greatly needed. There is no justification now for Fine Gael opposing it," he said.

Digital Desk