Israel summons Irish envoy over settlements bill
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Israel summons Irish envoy over settlements bill

While Alison Kelley tells Foreign Ministry official that her government does not support legislation proposed by 'independent,' she insists that it does not amount to BDS

Irish Senator Frances Black speaks ahead of of a Senate vote on the Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018, January 30, 2018 (screenshot www.oireachtas.ie)
Irish Senator Frances Black speaks ahead of of a Senate vote on the Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018, January 30, 2018 (screenshot www.oireachtas.ie)

The Irish ambassador to Israel was summoned to the Foreign Ministry Wednesday to clarify Dublin’s position on a bill that seeks to criminalize the import and sale of settlement goods.

The envoy, Alison Kelley, told ministry officials that the Irish government opposes the bill, which was proposed by “independent elements,” the Foreign Ministry quoted her as saying.

However, Kelley was also said to insist that the legislation was not a BDS initiative, which she said the Irish government opposes.

In response, the Foreign Affairs Ministry Europe Division’s deputy director-general, Rodica Radian-Gordon, emphasized Jerusalem’s firm opposition to the initiative, a statement from the ministry said.

Radian-Gordon was said to have made clear to Kelley that Israel considers any initiative to boycott settlement products a BDS initiative. The Israeli diplomat requested that the ambassador convey the message to Irish authorities.

In a surprise move on Tuesday, the Irish Senate postponed voting on the settlement legislation, hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sharply criticized the proposal.

The government opposed the passing of the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018, but vowed to revisit and possibly support it before the parliament’s summer break, in the event there is no significant progress on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

It is currently unclear if and when the bill will again be brought to a vote.

The proposed legislation — a private member bill sponsored by Independent Senator Frances Black — declares it an offense “for a person to import or attempt to import settlement goods.”

Likewise, those who “assist another person to import or attempt to import settlement goods” would be committing a crime punishable with up to five years in prison, if the bill were to become law.

Even if had passed on Tuesday, the bill would still have to clear several additional hurdles before becoming law.

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