Prominent Israelis Petition Irish Parliament to Back Bill Blocking Products From Settlements

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A man looks at AHAVA Dead Sea cosmetic products manufactured in the Israeli Kibbutz settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the Dead Sea resort of Kalya.
A man looks at AHAVA Dead Sea cosmetic products manufactured in the Israeli Kibbutz settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the Dead Sea resort of Kalya.Credit: אי־אף־פי

A group of Israeli activists, among them former members of Knesset, legal experts, ex-ambassadors, artists and academics, sent a written petition to the Irish parliament, asking it to support a bill that forbids the sale and export of products from Israeli settlements.

The parliament is set to debate the bill on Tuesday. Beyond outlawing the import or sale of such products, it would also ban services originating from the occupied territories.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the legislation and instructed diplomats to summon the Irish ambassador in Israel.

“We, concerned citizens of Israel urge Ireland to support any legislation that will help enforce differentiation between Israel per se and the settlements in the occupied territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem,” the letter, published in The Irish Times, read. “The Israeli occupation of the territories beyond the 1967 borders, ongoing for more than 50 years with no end in sight, is not only unjust but also stands in violation of numerous UN resolutions.”

The letter ends, “As people who care deeply for Israel’s future and long for our country to live in peace with its neighbors, we urge you to support the aforementioned Bill.”

Former MK Uri Avnery topped the list of signatories, which included former ambassadors Elie Barnavi, Ilan Baruch and Alon Liel; former attorney general Michael Ben-Yair; former MKs Roman Bronfman, Avraham Burg, Naomi Chazan, Tzali Reshef and Yael Dayan; and artists Dani Karavan, Alex Levac, David Tartakover and Miki Kratsman.

The bill is entitled “an Act to give effect to the State’s obligations arising under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and under customary international humanitarian law; and for that purpose to make it an offence for a person to import or sell goods or services originating in an occupied territory or to extract resources from an occupied territory in certain circumstances; and to provide for related matters.”

The bill would not only apply to Israeli settlements, but to all illegal settlements around the world and would therefore, theoretically, incorporate Western Sahara, northern Cyprus and Crimea.

Last week, the Danish parliament voted to exclude West Bank settlements from bilateral agreements with Israel. In addition, it was decided that government guidelines against investing in projects over the Green Line by both public and private bodies would be strengthened.   

The move saw Denmark adopt UN Resolution 2334, wherein settlements are defined as a violation of international law, and a distinction is made between Israel within the Green Line, and Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. The same view is held by the EU in all multilateral agreements with Israel.

In addition, the resolution expresses support for a "black list" of Israeli companies operating in the territories being formulated by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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