Irish lower house to vote on bill boycotting goods from Israeli settlements

Protesters hold a Palestinian flag and the initials of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine in Berlin, Germany,June 4, 2018. EPA-EFE FILE/CLEMENS BILAN

Dublin, Dec 6 (efe-epa).- The lower house of the Irish parliament is set to hold a vote on a draft bill imposing a boycott on all goods and services produced in illegal Jewish settlements on Palestinian soil, official sources confirmed on Thursday.

The Dáil Éireann, as the legislative chamber is known in Irish Gaelic, is scheduled to vote on the measure in early 2019 after the Seanad Éireann (upper house) passed the draft law, titled «The Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018,» last week.

The bill’s language makes it a criminal offense «for a person to import or attempt to import settlement goods,» punishable with up to five years in prison or a fine of 250,000 euros ($284,109).

Although the ruling minority government of the Christian-democratic Fine Gael party opposes the proposed law, if the lower house were to approve it, the executive led by Prime Minister Leo Varadkar would be compelled to enforce it.

If Ireland passes the law, it will be the first European country to veto any trade with goods and services originating in settlements on occupied Palestine land that have been declared illegal by the European Union and the United Nations, as they manifestly violate international law.

Independent senator Frances Black, who sponsored the bill, said after the Seanad approved its passage that it was a historic decision and insisted the boycott was necessary because the settlements violated human rights.

On the other hand, the Israeli embassy in Ireland has warned Dublin that the measure could hamper efforts to launch a new round of peace talks with Palestinian authorities.