Israel says Irish bill to prohibit settlement products is ‘immoral’

“Legislation, which promotes a boycott of any kind, should be rejected as it does nothing to achieve peace,” the Israeli embassy in Dublin said.

A bill expected to pass the Irish parliament next week prohibiting “the import and sales of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories” is immoral, the Israeli embassy in Ireland said Wednesday.

The embassy is “concerned by bills that further the divisions between Israel and the Palestinians,” the embassy said in a statement.

“Legislation, which promotes a boycott of any kind, should be rejected as it does nothing to achieve peace but rather empowers the Hamas terrorists as well as those Palestinians who refuse to come to the negotiating table,” the embassy continued.

“Closing doors will not in any way facilitate Ireland’s role and influence,” it stated. “There are direct parties to the conflict. Boycotting one of them will not do any good and is immoral.”

The main opposition party Fianna Fáil decided Tuesday evening to back the bill, pretty much ensuring passage. The bill received enthusiastic backing last week at a Dublin concert by the fanatically anti-israel former Pink Floyd artist Roger Waters.

Fianna Fáil’s Niall Collins, the party’s spokesman on foreign affairs, told the online Irish newspaper TheJournali.ie that he and a colleague “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 bill.

“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,” he said.

Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney was in Israel last month. Earlier this year he expressed reservations about the bill, saying that while it would send “an important signal to the the Palestinian people,” it would not enhance Ireland’s international position.

On Tuesday he tweeted opposition to the bill, writing: “The Irish Government has always condemned construction of illegal settlements. But this Bill asks Irish government to do something it is not legally empowered to do – trade is an EU competence, not an Irish one. FF [Fiana Fáil] knows this – so this move is both opportunist and irresponsible.”

The Irish Government has always condemned construction of illegal settlements. But this Bill asks Irish govt to do something it is not legally empowered to do – trade is an EU competence, not an Irish one. FF knows this – so this move is both opportunist and irresponsible.

— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) July 3, 2018

The bill’s sponsor, an Independent parliamentarian named Francis Black, tweeted in response that she had two legal opinions disputing Coveney’s claim. “I believe if we wait for EU leadership, we could be waiting forever,” she wrote.

In a tweet on Sunday, Black thanked Waters for his support, and wrote that it was “time for Ireland to take the lead, stand up for justice in #Palestine & end trade in #SettlementGoods.”

Thanks for the support @RogerWaters The Occupied Territories Bill 2018 is in Seanad Éireann on July 11th – time for Ireland to take the lead, stand up for justice in #Palestine & end trade in #SettlementGoods https://t.co/j6Ob8hF4Sw

— Frances Black (@frances_black) July 1, 2018

The move comes amid calls in Ireland to boycott next year’s Eurovision song contest scheduled to be held in Israel. Though Fianna Fáil will support the bill against the settlements, it is unlikely to support a Eurovision boycott, its leader Micheál Martin was quoted as saying.

Martin, asked about the Eurovision boycott in TheJournal.ie, said he has “never been a boycott fan,” and that “I think the Eurovision is neither here nor there to be frank in terms of the profound crisis that Palestine represents, particularly Gaza.”

Ireland, along with Sweden and Spain, are considered among the fiercest critics and most unsympathetic countries toward Israel inside the EU.

In 2015, the EU issued guidelines for labeling products from the settlements, but stopped short of calling for a boycott.

This article provided by NewsEdge.