Bill that would ban goods from occupied Palestinian territories passes in Ireland's Upper House

Bill that would ban goods from occupied Palestinian territories passes in Ireland's Upper House

A BILL that would ban the importation and sale of goods produced in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories has passed through all stages of the Seanad.

The Upper House of the Irish legislature passed the Occupied Territories Bill on Wednesday, despite opposition from Fine Gael.

It will go before the Dáil in the New Year, where it will be tabled by Fianna Fáil Foreign Affairs spokesperson Niall Collins.

However Tánaiste Simon Coveney has previously questioned the legality of any potential ban and would resist attempts to implement it.

Minister of State Helen McEntee also told the Seanad on Wednesday that the legislation is contrary to EU law because external trade rules were an exclusive competence of the EU.


‘Historic occasion’

Speaking after the Bill’s passage, Independent Senator Frances Black said: “It’s an historic, momentous occasion and I know just how much it means to the Palestinian people to know that someone out there cares.

“Today we send a strong signal that Ireland will always stand on the side of international law, human rights and justice.”

The Bill passed without a vote after the Government was defeated in an earlier vote about receiving the Bill for final consideration.

Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile called the Government’s stance ‘regrettable’.


“It is regrettable that the Government and Fine Gael have opposed this progressive and human rights based legislation, and I would strongly encourage them to rethink their position before the Bill comes before the Dáil in the next term,” he said.

The Senator added: “The Irish Government has to give a strong and unambiguous statement that there can be no impunity for Israel’s continued illegal occupation of Palestine.”

The Bill would make it an offence to import or sell goods or services originating in an occupied territory.

The Department of Foreign Affairs considers the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights, to be occupied and says the settlements, illegal under international law, threaten to make a two-state solution impossible.

The Embassy of Israel in Ireland has previously condemned the Bill, saying it will ‘empower terrorists’.