Saturday, 24 Feb 2018 - 9 of Adar, 5778

After government intervention, Irish Senate postpones vote on controversial settlement boycott legislation

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DUBLIN— Ireland’s Senate has  postponed a vote on a controversial bill that would criminalize trade with Israeli settlement following a government demand.

The postponement came after the Israeli government protested the measure.

During a debate on the measure Tuesday night, Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney, while condemning Israeli settlements as “unjust,” recommended that the government oppose the bill and adjourn a vote on it.

The legislation, sponsored by Senator Frances Black and titled “Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018,” calls to “prohibit the import and sale of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories,” according to Senator Frances Black, the bill’s sponsor.

On Tuesday, the Irish ambassador to Israel was summoned to the foreign ministry over the bill.

In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Office said the legislation’s “sole purpose is to support the BDS movement and harm the State of Israel.”

The Israeli embassy in Ireland denounced the bill, saying that it “only offers an incentive to those who wish to boycott Israel and stands in stark contrast to the guiding principles of free trade and justice.”

Irish ambassador to Israel Alison Kelly said Wednesday that the bill was raised by independent representatives in the Senate, and that the Irish government opposes it. 

The diplomat added that the legislation was not linked to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement,  that Ireland’s government does oppose BDS.

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