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Call for ban on Israeli settlement imports

October 3, 2012

An Oireachtas Committee is to write to the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamonn Gilmore, calling for a national ban on imports from illegal Israeli settlements.

All members of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade were supportive of a submission today from the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), a human rights observer organisation, calling for such a ban.

Joe O’Brien, advocacy co-ordinator with EAPPI said the illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank had “long been recognised by the UN, the US and the EU as the biggest barrier to peace” in the region.

He said Ireland could take a powerfully symbolic and moral stance by banning produce from illegal Israeli settlements from the Irish market.

Among the goods on sale in Ireland and produced in the illegal settlements were agricultural crops, plastic garden furniture produced by Keter, a company in the illegal settlement of Ariel, and Soda Stream products produced in the Mishor Edomim industrial park, east of Jerusalem in occupied Palestinian territory.

Though the value of products from the illegal settlements is small here – about €7 to €8 million a year, he said the move would be internationally very important.

“We have the reality of illegal settlement produce in Ireland. The Government has, in our view and in the view of an eminent legal expert [Professor of international law at University of Cambridge, James Crawford] the legal framework to institute a ban.

“Ireland is connected to the illegal settlement policies and realities and what we are proposing is a simple washing of hands.”

Senator Jim Walsh (FF) said he concurred with the call for a ban on produce from the illegal settlements and said: “In the background we shouldn’t rule out banning all Israeli products”.

Eric Byrne, TD, (Labour), said the Government should take a lead in Europe by instituting such a ban and should champion an EU-wide ban during Ireland’s presidency next year.

Source: Irish Times

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