- 04 Jul 18
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Niall Collins TD has confirmed that his party will support Senator Frances Black’s Occupied Territories Bill when it's debated in Seanad Éireann later this month.
The bill that would ban goods produced in the territories illegally occupied by Israelis in the West Bank and elsewhere in Palestine, from being sold in Ireland.
he 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 11 July.
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.
— Roger Waters (@rogerwaters) July 1, 2018
Now Fianna Fail says it will back the Bill. Hot Press reported on Monday that it was expected that Fianna Gail would 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."
Confirming that Fianna Fail will now support it, Deputy Collins commented, “Fianna Fáil is fully committed to supporting efforts to secure peace in the Middle East and a two state solution. Critical to that outcome is dealing with the issue of illegal settlements in the West Bank.
“My colleague Billy Kelleher TD and I traveled to Israel and Palestine to see at first hand the reality of what is happening on the ground before taking a view on the Occupied Territories Bill that will soon be debated in the Oireachtas.
“Having done that and having met with a wide range of agencies and groups, it is my view that Ireland passing the Occupied Territories Bill has the potential to send a strong message that the issue of illegal settlements is being taken seriously and needs to be addressed."
“I am pleased that the Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party shares this view and this evening agreed to support the Bill passing to second stage in the Seanad.
He pointed out: “Ireland has a long history of positive engagement in the Middle East and the quest for peace. It is my view that passage of this Bill fits comfortably in that tradition and I am pleased that Fianna Fáil will play a key role in making it happen.”
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.
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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