Saturday, 22 September 2012

Irish Parliamentary Committee Call for ban on Israeli settlement imports

 An Oireachtas Committee is to write to the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamonn Gilmore, calling for a ban on imports from illegal Israeli settlements

This is a great victory for all of us struggling to hold Israel accountable for its egregious and ongoing violations of Palestinian rights and international law. We sincerely hope the Irish parliament will overwhelmingly pass this proposal.
What is especially important in this particular decision by a powerful committee of the Irish parliament is that it seems to be focused on the products of companies working in Israel's illegal colonies, not just on products. And it is a clear step in the direction of boycotting all products of Israel, as South African products were boycotted during apartheid, until it fully complies with its obligations under international law.
Irish PSC Ad in Irish Times
Senator Jim Walsh (FF) is quoted in the article saying: “In the background we shouldn’t rule out banning all Israeli products”. Exactly!

The difference between boycotting/banning products of companies that produce in or procure from settlements and boycotting/banning settlement products is the difference between having a palpable, measurable and sustainable impact on promoting human rights and international law or just making a symbolic gesture towards that end. The Palestinian BDS National Committee has welcomed such gestures, but saw them as only a first step in the direction of targeting complicit companies.
Banning products of companies producing (even partially) in settlements or procuring (even partially) from settlements is traceable, effective and not just symbolic; it is legally justified as these companies are violating international law even if only part of their products are illegal. Whereas banning "settlement products" based on labeling that ostensibly distinguishes these products as originating from settlements is merely symbolic; it is ineffective and cannot lead to true accountability for violating international law, as a result. This is mainly due to the fact that Human Rights Watch and many other groups realize: Israel cheats, systematically and persistently.

For more on the legal issues pertaining to state responsibilities in relation to Israel's colonial enterprise see this recent legal memorandum which was recently by Al-Haq and authored by Ingrid Jaradat.
This new Irish parliamentary move should become a model to be emulated by all European lawmakers who claim to care about human rights and international law; it is a concrete and unsubstantial step towards ending official Europe's deep complicity in Israel's occupation, colonization and apartheid.

Omar Barghouti

Call for ban on Israeli settlement imports

An Oireachtas Committee is to write to the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamonn Gilmore, calling for a ban on imports from illegal Israeli settlements

Wed, Sep 19, 2012

An Oireachtas Committee is to write to the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamonn Gilmore, calling for a national ban on imports from illegal Israeli settlements.

All members of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade were supportive of a submission today from the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), a human rights observer organisation, calling for such a ban.

Joe O’Brien, advocacy co-ordinator with EAPPI said the illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank had “long been recognised by the UN, the US and the EU as the biggest barrier to peace” in the region.

He said Ireland could take a powerfully symbolic and moral stance by banning produce from illegal Israeli settlements from the Irish market.

Among the goods on sale in Ireland and produced in the illegal settlements were agricultural crops, plastic garden furniture produced by Keter, a company in the illegal settlement of Ariel, and Soda Stream products produced in the Mishor Edomim industrial park, east of Jerusalem in occupied Palestinian territory.

Though the value of products from the illegal settlements is small here - about €7 to €8 million a year, he said the move would be internationally very important.

“We have the reality of illegal settlement produce in Ireland. The Government has, in our view and in the view of an eminent legal expert [Professor of international law at University of Cambridge, James Crawford] the legal framework to institute a ban.

“Ireland is connected to the illegal settlement policies and realities and what we are proposing is a simple washing of hands.”

Senator Jim Walsh (FF) said he concurred with the call for a ban on produce from the illegal settlements and said: “In the background we shouldn’t rule out banning all Israeli products”.

Eric Byrne, TD, (Labour), said the Government should take a lead in Europe by instituting such a ban and should champion an EU-wide ban during Ireland’s presidency next year.
© 2012


  1. Should we not therefore ban oil imports from Saudi Arabia due to their treatment of women?

  2. I've got a better idea. Why not ban US troops from Saudi Arabia because they are the ones who are upholding the Saudi regime and its treatment of women and migrant labour


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