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.
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.’
Business groups pressure Ireland to drop ban on Israeli settlement goods (Electronic Intifada, 10 April 2019)
Economics should not trump ethics when it comes to Occupied Territories Bill (Irish Times, 23 March 2019)
Leo Varadkar reassures US politicians over Occupied Territories Bill (Irish Times, 11 March 2019)
Israel parliament cancels Irish trip in protest at goods boycott Bill (Irish Times, 28 Jan 2019)
Israel threatens retaliatory measures if Ireland passes Bill to boycott Israeli goods (Irish Examiner, 29 Jan 2019)
Israel gives Irish ambassador severe dressing down for ‘anti-Semitic’ Dáil Bill (The Irish Times, 25 Jan 2019)
Occupied Territories Bill passes in Dáil despite government opposition (The Irish Post, 24 Jan 2019)
The Irish Times view on Israeli settlements: a principled declaration (Irish Times, 26 Jan 2019)
Coveney warns he could block ‘anti-Israel’ bill (Irish Legal News, 24 Jan 2019)
TDs back controversial occupied territories Bill as Independent Ministers abstain (Irish Times, 24 Jan 2019)
Concerns over Israeli embassy closing down over Occupied Territories Bill 'an overreaction' say FF (The Journal, 24 Jan 2019)
Focus on Independent Alliance over occupied territories Bill (Irish Times, 23 Jan 2019)
'The entire world knows the settlers have declared war on us' (+972, 17 March 2019)
UK companies warned over involvement in Israeli war crimes - new report (Amnesty International, 13 March 2019)
In 50 years, Israel has expropriated 10,000 hectares of Palestinian land (AsiaNews, 16 March 2019)
How the Israeli Army Takes Palestinian Land and Hands It to Settlers (Haaretz, 12 March 2019)
Israel has tried to pressure Ireland to block a pro-Palestine bill (The Canary, 20 March 2019)
UN again defers report on companies with Israeli settlement ties (Middle Eats Monitor, 5 March 2019)
Airbnb 'profiting' from illegal Israeli settlements: Amnesty (Al Jazeera, 30 Jan 2019)
Amnesty urges travel sites to remove Israeli settlement listings in occupied West Bank (The Independent, 30 Jan 2019)
The Irish Parliament passed a Bill banning the import of Israeli settlement goods (Facebook, 28 Jan 2019)
TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Expedia – please stop offering holidays in illegal Israeli settlements (The Independent, 30 Jan 2019)
As Malaysia and Ireland Find Out, You Stand Up for Palestinian Rights at Your Peril (Mint Press News, 31 Jan 2019)
Knesset speaker scraps MKs’ mission to Ireland over boycott legislation (Times of Israel, 29 Jan 2019)
Knesset speaker cancels Ireland visit after parliament backs West Bank boycott (Jewish News Times of Israel, 29 Jan 2019)
Israeli parliament Speaker snubs Dáil over ‘hurtful’ proposed law (The Times, 29 Jan 2019)
Michael Jansen: A new victory (The Gulf Today, 1 Feb 2019)
Foreign Ministry blasts Ireland after pro-BDS bill advances (Israel National News, 24 Jan 2019)
Ireland Passes BDS Bill to Outlaw West Bank Settlement Goods (The Palestine Chronicle, 25 Jan 2019)
Ireland passes BDS bill banning Israel settlement goods (The Middle East Monitor, 25 Jan 2019)
Irish parliament passes bill to ban Israeli settlement goods (Electronic Intifada, 24 Jan 2019)
Israel Expresses ‘Disgust’ After ‘Occupied Territories’ Boycott Bill Wins Crucial Vote in Irish Parliament(Algemeiner, 24 Jan 2019)
Irish lower house passes bill to ban Israeli settlement goods (Aljazeera, 24 Jan 2019)
Irish envoy given ‘angry rebuke’ over bill outlawing settlement goods (The Times of Israel, 25 Jan 2019)
Ministers urged not to block occupied territories trade ban (The Times, 25 Jan 2019)
Israel condemns Irish parliament advances anti-settlement bill (XinhuaNet, 25 Jan 2019)
The EU's position on the Irish Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018 (European Parliament Questions, 9 Jan 2019)
Framework for Evaluating Listings in Disputed Areas (Airbnb Press Room, 17 Jan 2019)
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
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.
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.
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.
Writing and disseminating high quality factual information and analysis on political developments in Palestine is a central tenet of what we do.
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 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 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.
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.
Sadaka has worked closely with trade unions since our formation building on their strong pro-active positions on Palestine.
Recent Media Items
Israeli Soldiers Shot Bound Palestinian Teen Because Live Fire Is Their Only Language (Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 22 April 2019)
Palestinian teenager shot by Israeli army ‘while blindfolded and handcuffed’ in West Bank (Independent, 22 April 2019)
6,000 Palestinian Children Jailed By Israel Since 2015 (OWP, 21 April 2019)
Mourning the missing in Israel's 'cemeteries of numbers' (Middle East Eye, 20 April 2019)
Israel: Human Rights Watch Official’s Deportation Reinstated (Human Rights Watch, 16 April 2019)
If you believe in human rights, Madonna, don’t play Tel Aviv (Roger Waters, Guardian, 17 April 2019)
Palestinian state likely not in US proposed peace plan: Report (Al Jazeera, 15 April 2019)
Europe must stand by the two-state solution for Israel and Palestine (Guardian News, 15 April 2019)
Israelis celebrate festival of freedom as Palestinians suffer acts of wickedness (Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 21 April 2019)
You Married a Palestinian (Haaretz, 21 April 2019)
Mueller report confirms Trump team meddled in Egypt's UN resolution on Israeli settlements (Middle East Eye, 18 April 2019)
After Trump's move, US will now register people born in Golan Heights as native Israelis (Haaretz, 18 April 2019)
By cutting off relations, South Africa has branded Israel with the mark of Cain (Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 18 April 2019)
Israel begins demolishing Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem neighbourhood (Haaretz, 17 April 2019)
Israeli settlers execute Muhammad ‘Abd al-Fatah; military covers up their deed (B’Tselem, 14 April 2019)
Israel confiscates 51,000 dunams from Jordan Valley (Ma’an News, 16 April 2019)
Europe urged to reject US Middle East plan if it is unfair to Palestinians (Guardian, 15 April 2019)
Wounded Palestinian prisoners left in rain with no food or toilets in 'night of the atrocity' (Gideon Levy & Alex Levac, Haaretz, 12 April 2019)
Israeli election - with the final count in, who won and who lost? (Reuters, 12 April 2019)
Business groups pressure Ireland to drop ban on Israeli settlement goods (Electronic Intifada, 10 April 2019)
I fought South African apartheid. I see the same brutal policies in Israel (Ronnie Kasrils, Guardian, 3 April 2019)
Beit Sahour Twins with Tralee, Ireland (IMEMC News, 28 March 2019)
Economy and living standards of Gaza ‘eviscerated’ by crippling blockade (UN Trade & Development agency, 18 September 2018)
Humanitarian snapshot: casualties in the Gaza strip | 30 March 2018 - 22 March 2019 (UN OCHA, 27 March 2019)
One state, two states, whatever (Haaretz, 9 April 2019)
Israel PM vows to annex West Bank settlements if re-elected (BBC News, 7 April 2019)
Netanyahu vows to annex Jewish settlements in occupied West Bank (Guardian, 7 April 2019)
6,000 Palestinian children jailed by Israel since 2015: NGO (Al Jazeera, 5 April 2019)
Israel election: Why Israel desperately needs regime change (Middle East Eye, 8 April 2019)
Democracy, Israeli Style (New York Times, 7 April 2019)
Bedouin women capture their village's final moments before it's demolished by Israel (Haaretz, 1 April 2019)
Arab League to aid Palestinian Authority after Israel withholds tax money (Haaretz, 1 April 2019)