Ireland will stop importing products from Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories soon. The country’s senate has voted in favour of a bill on 11 July 2018 banning these imports, making Ireland the first among the European Union (EU) nations to enforce such a boycott.
The upper house of the Irish parliament called the Seanad has already approved the legislation. Once the bill gets through the lower house, it will be enforced. In response, Israel has fiercely opposed the move and Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has denounced the bill.
Frances Black, the independent senator who sponsored the bill explained it thus. “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.”
Even though the move might not cause any significant economic dent for Israel, it is now being seen as a precursor to more boycotts from EU.
The decision indicates Ireland’s solidarity with the people of the West Bank which is now occupied by Israel. The persecution of the Palestinians who seek to establish an independent state has been condemned by many in the past. These areas are considered to be ‘occupied’ under international law making Israel an illegal settler in Palestinian land.
In 2015, the EU issued new guidelines for the labelling of products from illegal Israeli settlements saying that European consumers were entitled to know the source of goods previously labelled as ‘Israeli’ but was in fact coming from regions illegally occupied by Israel.