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The New Arab

Ireland parliament to vote on banning Israeli illegal settlement goods

Ireland has historically had strong ties with the Palestinian cause [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 July, 2018

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Irish lawmakers are expected to pass a bill banning the import and sale of products made in illegal Israeli settlements, local newspaper The Irish Times reported.

Irish lawmakers are expected to pass a bill banning the import and sale of products made in illegal Israeli settlements, The Irish Times has reported.

Ireland's parliament, the Seanad, will vote later on Wednesday on the landmark legislation, which has support from opposition and independent lawmakers.

If passed the bill would make Ireland the first EU country to prohibit goods originating in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Independent lawmaker Frances Black, who wrote the bill, has condemned Israeli settlements as "a gross violation of international law".

It is expected to pass despite opposition from the Irish and Israeli governments, according to The Irish Times.

Ireland has had strong ties with the Palestinian cause, because of perceived shared features between the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation and Ireland's own battle to free itself from centuries of British rule.

Voting on the bill was supposed to take place in January, but was postponed by Irish authorities after protests from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The Israeli premier at the time said it would "harm Israel" and support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

On Tuesday, the Palestine Liberation Organisation urged Irish lawmakers to vote for the bill, the official Palestinian news agency reported.

"Stand up for what you believe in and hold Israel to account. All settlement products must be banned," PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said, addressing Irish parliamentarians.

Israel's West Bank settlements are considered illegal under international law and are bitterly opposed by Palestinians.

Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War. Settlements there are seen as major stumbling blocks to a peace deal since they are built on land the Palestinian wants for their future state.

Some 600,000 Israeli settlers live among nearly three million Palestinians in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

There are at least 126 settlements in the West Bank excluding East Jerusalem, according to a September 2016 report from the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics. 

The settlements are widely seen as an existential threat to the two-state solution agreed between Palestinians and Israelis in the 1993 Oslo Accords. 

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