On 11th July, Seanad Éireann voted on the Occupied Territories Bill 2018. The Bill passed a second reading with 25 Senators voting for the Bill and and 20 senators, mainly Fine Gael, voting against. When enacted, this Bill will ban imports from Israeli settlements established on stolen Palestinian land, a War Crime under international law.
You can see a recording of the debate on Seanad Éireann video (scroll down to 11 July and slide to 04:37:07). The entire debate lasts for nearly two hours. There are some excellent supporting speeches but note especially that speeches from all parties for and against the Bill displayed strong negative reaction to and condemnation of the Israeli settlements. Unusually, after the vote was announced, Senators spontaneously rose to give a standing ovation to the Palestinian farmers, Sadaka board members and other supporters in the public gallery (06:43:30).
Sadaka, Trócaire, Christian Aid, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Senator Frances Black and other members of the Seanad Civil Engagement Group are working together on this initiative. The Green Party, Fianna Fáil, the Labour Party, Sinn Féin and the Social Democrats all committed their support for this Bill as did a number of independents. That means a majority of TDs and Senators now support it. Unfortunately, the Government is opposing it, claiming it is incompatible with EU law. This is despite the fact that several eminent legal experts – including former Attorney General Senator Michael McDowell and judge on the International Court of Justice Professor James Crawford – have said that EU law does not prevent Member States from banning trade with Israeli settlements.
Roger Waters endorses the Occupied Territories Bill
Roger Waters’ video following a meeting between Roger Waters, Sadaka Chair Marie Crawley and Senator Frances Black’s office – “Thank you the people of Ireland for your legendary humanity, please help @frances_black pass this bill and end the use of #SettlementGoods“.
Local Councils the support the Occupied Territories Bill
Fourteen Local Councils (in red) already support a ban on the import of goods from Israeli settlements. Is yours amongst them?