Seanad vote on trade ban with illegal Israeli settlements to be held tomorrow

Four of Ireland’s leading development and human rights organisations have called for Ireland to make history this week by becoming the first country to vote for a trade ban with illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

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

Trócaire, Christian Aid Ireland, Sadaka and the Global Legal Action Network are backing the bill and have urged all Senators to support it to secure its passage to Dáil Éireann.

Trócaire Executive Director Éamonn Meehan said the bill is a powerful declaration in support of human rights in Palestine.

"By differentiating between Israel and the illegal settlements constructed on Palestinian land, this legislation puts human rights at the heart of Irish trade and clearly show Ireland’s opposition to ongoing land grabs by Israel in the West Bank.

“Settlements are built on land stolen from Palestinian families, who often look on as their homes and land are bulldozed to make way for illegal Israeli settlements. It is immoral for Ireland, or any other country, to continue to trade with companies established on these illegal settlements. Ireland has always been a vocal critic of the illegal settlement project. It is now time to turn words into action by banning trade with the settlements.”

Nisreen, aged 17 and her 4.5 year old sister Tahany plant gourd seeds. They can now sustain a small vegetable patch, thanks to the EJ YMCA water project funded by Christian Aid in Rashayda area, southern West Bank. Photo: Christian Aid

Rosamond Bennett, Chief Executive of Christian Aid Ireland, said a viable and lasting peace in the region has to be grounded in international law and these settlements are a clear violation of international law and may even constitute war crimes under the Geneva conventions.

“By supporting this bill, Ireland is reasserting its commitment to justice, peace, and the rule of law at a time when many of these values are under threat around the world. This bill is an important move in support of these values.”

Gerry Liston, Legal Officer with Sadaka and the Global Legal Action Network said the international community has a duty to ensure that the fundamental rules of international law are respected.

"The Occupied Territories Bill lays down a marker for the international community as to what the fulfilment of this duty entails in the context of Israel’s occupation and colonisation of Palestinian territory. Other governments can be expected to follow suit.”

- Digital Desk

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