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Irish envoy summoned for anti-settlement bill
14 July 2018, 11:44 | Erica Roy
Father Manuel Musallam gives a sermon as he leads the Sunday prayers at the Latin church in Gaza city on 8 July 2007
"The bill is focused [solely] on the sale of products from settlements and not on trade within the Green Line".
Israel summons Ireland's ambassador after the country's parliament passed legislation banning imports of goods produced in Israeli settlements.
It is estimated that the value of such imports to Ireland is up to €1 million a year.
The bill, which was introduced by independent senator Frances Black and drew support from all Ireland's major political parties except the governing Fine Gael party, passed by a 25-20 vote with 14 abstentions. Israel considers the West Bank to be disputed territory, with borders to be determined in any future peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
The "Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018" will mean for those who violate the new laws legislated, that they could face a 250,000 pound fine and the possibility of up to 13 months imprisonment. If passed, the bill will have to go through several more stages of review and amendment before it is signed into a law.
"We may have a long path ahead of us", said Black.
The bill could see Ireland become the first European Union country to ban settlement goods and services, but would not apply to goods or services from within Israel itself.
"These goods are exported and sold on shelves around the world, including in Ireland, to keep the show on the road".
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs praised the Irish Senate for the decision, "that many other countries have avoided to make for years", despite previous resolutions to label products from illegal Israeli settlements according to the 2015 European Union regulations.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney spoke against the bill during the debate at the Senate, known as the Seanad Éireann. "But I believe... we've made the case clearly". If the Irish bill is enacted and the firms abide by it, they will be breaking U.S. law, which now bans United States firms from taking part in foreign boycotts not supported by its government. "While Ireland considers Jerusalem an Israeli settlement, the USA government recognizes it as Israel's capital", stated Kittrie.
Before the vote, PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi called on "the Irish people in light of our historical relationship to stand up and to reject the importation of any settlement products - because settlements are, after all, a war crime and an ongoing aggression against the Palestinian people and they want you to be complicit in this war crime".
Responding, Senator Mark Daly from Fianna Fail said Ireland was out on its own when supporting a Palestinian state in 1980, when there was just 30,000 settlers in Palestinian territory - now there was almost 500,000, he said.
She said she visited Palestine earlier this year and, highlighting an Israel settlement which led to a Palestinian village losing its water supply to provide water for a chicken farm.
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