A bill that is currently before Seanad Éireann would ban goods produced in the territories illegally occupied by Israelis in the West Bank and elsewhere in Palestine, from being sold in Ireland
The legendary Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters (pictured) has called on the Irish public and politicians alike to support Independent Senator Frances Black's Occupied Territories Bill 2018, which is due to be voted on, in the Seanad on July 11. In a video shared on Sunday (below), as well as on stage in Dublin last week, Waters urged fans to contact their representatives and to support the bill.
The proposed legislation would ban trade in goods produced in illegal settlements in occupied territories – including Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian 'West Bank'. Though these settlements are repeatedly condemned by the EU, UN and the Irish Government as illegal, they continue to extract valuable natural resources and agricultural produce from occupied land, which is then exported and sold around the world.
The bill does not aim to ban Israeli products, only those goods that are produced in settlements established illegally, beyond the borders of Israel.
When the bill was first debated in January, Tánaiste Simon Coveney condemned the "relentless expansion" of "unjust, provocative & unambiguously illegal" Israeli settlements. However, he said that Fine Gael would oppose the bill, preferring coordinated EU action.
Sinn Féin, Labour, the Social Democrats, the Green Party and a number of Independents, including former Attorney-General Senator Michael McDowell, have pledged support – meaning that Fianna Fáil's backing would see the bill passed.
On Monday, the Times Ireland Edition suggested that the party is expected to support the bill. “The most pressing issue,” Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin stated, "is the continued expansion of illegal settlements. They are wrong and they are reducing the prospects of a two-state solution, as each new illegal settlement is created." Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson Niall Collins TD and Jobs spokesperson Billy Kelleher travelled to Palestine last week on a fact-finding mission, ahead of the vote, and will report back to the party frontbench for a decision this week.
Senator Frances Black is adamant that the measure is necessary. "As international law is absolutely clear that the settlements are illegal, then the goods they produce are the proceeds of crime,” she says. "We must face up to this – we cannot keep supporting supporting blatant violations of international law and war crimes. While the Government criticises the 'relentless progress' of settlement expansion, empty rhetoric simply has not worked – Palestinian homes are still being demolished and land confiscated. Ireland needs to show leadership and act – and this bill is a real chance to do that.”
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