Israel Slams Irish Parliament for Advancing 'Hypocritical, anti-Semitic' Settlement Ban

The legislation, which calls for prison terms and high fines for businesses trading with West Bank settlement goods, would have 'severe ramifications' on relations, Foreign Ministry warns

File photo: Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar speaks at a news conference in Brussels, Belgium December 14, 2018.
Piroschka Van De Wouw/Reuters

Israel has warned Ireland against passing a bill to ban imports of West Bank settlement products, which was advanced in Ireland's lower house of parliament on Thursday, calling it "hypocritical and anti-Semitic."

Israel's Foreign Ministry said Friday the legislation, if adopted, would have "severe ramifications" on mutual relations.

Irish Ambassador Alison Kelly was summoned to the ministry's headquarters in Jerusalem for "an angry rebuke" about the "scandalous law," it said. "Ireland better deal with dictatorships and terrorist movement instead of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East."

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The bill, which is sponsored by independent Senator Frances Black and envisions prison terms and high fines for Irish businesses trading in goods originating in Israeli settlements, will now go back to Ireland's lower house, the Dail, for a final vote.

The EU in 2015 issued guidelines on labelling settlement products, but if  the bill becomes law, Ireland would become the first European country to ban them. The law, however, could be challenged at the European Court of Justice.

The bill prohibits the sale and import of products and raw materials from "occupied territories," and calls for a fine of up to 250,000 euros ($285,000) or up to five years in prison in the case of a conviction. The status of the territories must have been confirmed by the United Nations International Court of Justice in The Hague, according to the draft.

In November, the Irish Senate approved another stage in the legislation, after a preliminary approval in July.

The Associated Press and DPA contributed to this report.