The Occupied Territories Bill: Dail Éireann votes to pass legislation banning the import of goods from illegal Israeli settlements!


In a truly historic moment for Palestine, on Thursday January 24th 2019, the Dáil voted by 78 votes to 45 in favour of the Occupied Territories Bill. That means that the Seanad has passed and the Dáil supports in principle a Bill which, if enacted, will ban the sale of goods and services originating in illegal Israeli settlements established on stolen Palestinian land.



78 - 45! That is the extraordinary majority of the vote in Dáil Éireann in support of the Occupied Territories Bill. Huge congratulations to Niall Collins TD and his colleagues in Fianna Fáil, to Sinn Féin, Labour, the Green Party, Social Democrats, People Before Profit / Solidarity and the range of Independent TDs who voted for the Bill. Significantly, three Government Ministers abstained, choosing not to support the Government in its opposition to the Bill. We are so proud of your representation of the will of the Irish people.

This is a major step in challenging Israel's impunity in its daily breaches of international law. The vote in favour of the Bill represents the strongest possible statement that Ireland as a nation will not stand idly by while Israel commits war crimes against the Palestinian people.

The Occupied Territories Bill was introduced to the Dáil on Wednesday, 23rd January, by Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Niall Collins TD and supported by all political parties (except Fine Gael) as well as by a large number of independents. There were many excellent contributions to the debate, a transcript of which is available here ).

"This is about doing the right thing at the right time and taking the lead."
Niall Collins TD, Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs


Pictured after the Dáil debate - Conor O'Neill, Policy Advisor to Senator Black; Stella Carroll, Media Officer Sadaka; Gerry Liston, Legal Officer Sadaka & GLAN;  Senator Frances Black; Niall Collins T.D; Jilan Wahba, Deputy Palestininan Ambassador; Marie Crawley, Chair of Sadaka

Pictured after the Dáil debate - Conor O'Neill, Policy Advisor to Senator Black; Stella Carroll, Media Officer Sadaka; Gerry Liston, Legal Officer Sadaka & GLAN; Senator Frances Black; Niall Collins T.D; Jilan Wahba, Deputy Palestininan Ambassador; Marie Crawley, Chair of Sadaka.


What happens next?

Without the votes to defeat it, the Government, which opposes the Bill, is now seeking to block its progress by withholding what is called a "Money Message" (more on what a Money Message entails here). The Bill will be subject to detailed scrutiny at a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade. This is likely to be scheduled for April or May 2019. Within two weeks that meeting, a determination will be made as to whether a Money Message is required. Watch this space – Sadaka will continue to update this page as the Bill progresses.


Amnesty International Calls for Governments to replicate Ireland’s Occupied Territories Bill Adds its Voice to the Bill!

‘As well as calling on individual companies to stop doing business in and with the settlements, Amnesty is calling on governments to make this mandatory through regulation, and to introduce laws prohibiting the import of settlement goods. Each year, hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of goods produced in the settlements are exported internationally, despite the fact that most countries around the world have officially condemned the settlements as illegal under international law. In the UK, imported settlement goods include oranges, dates, spring water and halva desserts. The Irish Parliament is currently in the process of approving a landmark bill which would prohibit trade in goods and services with settlements, and Amnesty is calling on all other countries to do likewise.’


Media Coverage  Ireland / International

Political and Legal Arguments

Minister Simon Coveney and the Government remain opposed to the Bill. This is based on two key arguments: firstly that the Bill is not compatible with EU law and secondly that it would undermine a role he envisages Ireland might play in a resumed Middle East peace process. These positions are not tenable.

1. In response to the Government’s position on EU law, this is a legal opinion authored by Takis Tridimas, Professor of EU law at King’s College London and practising EU lawyer who is "one of the most frequently quoted academic authors by Advocates General of the European Court of Justice and, on matters of EU law, by English courts." His opinion that the Bill is compatible with EU law is unequivocal.

2. In response to the Government position on a future peace process, this Sadaka paper outlines how the Trump Administration’s "peace plan," in which the Tánaiste has expressed faith, is not a peace plan at all and seeks to ensure that Israel will benefit from its longstanding and systematic breaches of international law, to the extreme detriment of the Palestinian people. It also explains how the Occupied Territories Bill has the potential to play an important role in creating the conditions for a just and meaningful peace process.

3. This opinion piece, written by Gerry Liston (Legal Officer Sadaka) and published in the Irish Times (26th November 2018) provides an excellent argument as to why the Irish Government should support the Bill.


Occupied Territories Bill

Sadaka Campaigns

The Occupied Territories Bill, developed by Sadaka and tabled by Senator Frances Black, will prohibit the import of goods and services which are produced in illegal Israeli settlements. Settlements are a war crime under international law.

Other Campaigns

Sadaka Campaigns

Sadaka runs targeted campaigns on an annual basis, each one aimed at achieving a particular goal such as Irish Government Recognition of Palestine, pre General Election commitments on Palestine and similar goals.

Conferences

Conferences & Public Meetings

High Level Fora and meetings are used to get particular messages to selected audiences. We focus on high profile speakers to attract key decision makers and people of influence.

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Writing and disseminating high quality factual information and analysis on political developments in Palestine is a central tenet of what we do.

Education Resources

Sadaka Education Resources

In partnership with the Curriculum Development Unit, Sadaka produced an education resource on Palestine available on the Irish secondary school curriculum. More resources also available.

Visiting Speaker Programme

Sadaka Visiting Speaker Programme

Sadaka organises high level speaking tours with invited guests, primarily from Palestine. They typically involve meetings with the Minister, political party leaders, leading NGOs, trade unions and presentations to Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Political Meetings

Sadaka Political Meetings

Political meetings are core business for Sadaka as we attempt to shift Irish foreign policy towards the achievement of political self –determination and human rights for the Palestinian people.

Palestinian Churches

Sadaka, the Churches and Palestine

Sadaka has hosted lengthy speaking tours with leading Christian church leaders from Palestine to encourage the Irish churches to develop pro-active positions on the plight of their brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.

Trade Unions

Sadaka and Irish Trades Unions

Sadaka has worked closely with trade unions since our formation building on their strong pro-active positions on Palestine.

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