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Ireland's Senate Approves Bill Banning Israeli Settlement Products

Written by Subject: Ireland

Ireland's Senate Approves Bill Banning Israeli Settlement Products

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)

Israeli settlements were established on stolen Palestinian land. Over 650,000 settlers live in them illegally.

Many are Zionist zealots, freely terrorizing Palestinians, committing violence and vandalism unaccountably, protected by Israeli security forces.

Jews alone may live in what Israel calls "communities," developed exclusively for Jews, no Arab citizens allowed, the policy from inception reflecting apartheid viciousness.

Settlements flagrantly contravene international law, prohibiting occupying powers from relocating their citizens to territories they control. 

Israel has been doing it unaccountably for over half a century, stealing Palestine's most valued land for exclusive Jewish development and use - appropriating all West Bank, East Jerusalem, and offshore Gaza resources, including valued water, as well as lucrative oil and gas reserves.

Palestinian human rights groups justifiably call for a total boycott of Israeli settlement products. Buying them sustains the existence of exploitive enterprises on expropriated land.

The EU is Israel's largest trading partner. Economist Shir Hever earlier said "(t)he significance of ending the import of colony products is much larger than the direct financial effect."

"It (would be) a strong statement reminding Israel of the illegality of the colonization of the West Bank, and a blow to many Israeli and international companies who have turned the occupation into a source of profit."

It would be a shot across the bow against all Israeli enterprises - a hopeful first step toward greater boycott and divestment from an apartheid state, aiming for total isolation.

Last week, Ireland's Senate members voted in favor of banning illegally produced settlement products - a step toward the Irish republic becoming the first EU state to boycott what no nations should allow into their countries.

The measure prohibits "trade with and economic support for illegal settlements in territories deemed occupied under international law."

The legislation needs further upper house approval, the lower house as well before becoming Irish law, an important milestone if happens.

Netanyahu blasted the measure as expected, falsely calling it "contrary to the principles of free trade and justice."

Independent Senator Frances Black sponsored the bill, saying:

It "seeks to prohibit the import and sale of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories." 

"Such settlements are illegal under both international humanitarian law and domestic Irish law, and result in human rights violations on the ground." 

"In the occupied territories, people are forcibly kicked out of their homes. Fertile farming land is seized, and the fruit and vegetables produced are then sold on Irish shelves to pay for it all."

"These settlements are war crimes, and it's time for Ireland to show some leadership and refuse to support them."

Following the vote, PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi released a statement, saying she's "truly honored to extend our sincere appreciation of and deep gratitude to (Irish senators) who took a courageous and principled stand in support of peace, justice, and morality."

She urged other EU countries and the international community to follow Ireland's lead in "hold(ing) Israel accountable…by banning all settlement products and beginning a process of de-occupation in Palestine."

According to the Irish Times, policing the boycott of Israeli settlement products may be hard to do if the above measure becomes law, saying:

"Only a handful of goods sold in Ireland can be readily identified as coming from the settlements covered by the proposed ban." 

"Many others - notably fruits and vegetables - might be grown in an affected area before being shipped to Israel for packaging and distribution before being marketed as 'Produce of Israel.' "

Irish law banning settlement products is a good start if enacted. Banning all Israeli products as long as it brutalizes Palestinians would be the most effective follow-up measure - encouraging other nations to do the same thing.

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