On 5th December 2018, Seanad Éireann (Irish Senate - the Upper House of Parliament) became the first House of Parliament in the world to pass legislation banning the import of goods from illegal Israeli settlements!
We are immensely proud of Senator Frances Black, additional Independent Senators, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Labour for taking this courageous stance in defence of international law and in the face of fierce Israeli and US opposition.
Celebrating after the vote (from left); Adnan Shabab; Michael Lynn S.C.; Conor O'Neill; Kevin Liston; Marie Crawley; Emma Quearney; Senator Frances Black; Selina Donnelly; Senator Alice Mary Higgins; Gerry Liston; Yvonne O'Callaghan; Fatin Al Tamimi; the Palestininan Ambassador, H.E. Ahmad Abdelrazek.
Emma Quearney (PA to Senator Black); Senator Frances Black; Conor O'Neill, Policy Advisor to Senator Black; Marie Crawley, Sadaka Chair; Gerry Liston, Legal Officer Sadaka & GLAN.
Sadaka and Trócaire celebrating after the vote
Below is some of the campaign background that led to this historic decision
Seanad passes ‘historic’ Bill to ban sale of goods from occupied territories (Irish Times, 6 Dec 2018 )
US tries to stop Ireland banning imports from Israel’s settlements (Ciaran Tierney, Electronic Intifada, 4 Dec 2018 )
An open letter to a West of Ireland Senator (Ciaran Tierney Blog, 30 Nov 2018)
Coveney says he will not be ‘bounced’ into Israeli goods ban (Irish Times, 29 Nov 2018)
Bill banning Israeli settlement goods moves a step closer to passing (Irish Times, 28 Nov 2018)
Seanad passes Occupied Territories Bill despite government opposition (The Journal, 28 Nov 2018)
Irish Senate passes bill outlawing trade with Israeli settlements (Press TV, 6 Dec 2018 )
Irish Senate approves bill criminalizing West Bank settlement activity (Jerusalem Post, 5 Dec 2018 )
Irish Senate advances bill boycotting Israeli settlement goods (Ma'an News, 6 Dec 2018 )
Erekat applauds Chilean parliament for standing by Palestinian rights (Ma'an News, 29 Nov 2018)
Not Just Ireland: Chilean Congress Calls for Boycott of Israeli Settlements (Haaretz, 29 Nov 2018)
Bill boycotting Israeli settlement goods passes first reading in Irish Senate (Ma'an News, 29 Nov 2018)
Irish senate advances bill to criminalize settlement activity (Jerusalem Post, 28 Nov 2018)
Ireland advances bill criminalizing sale of goods made in settlements (Times of Israel, 28 Nov 2018)
Irish Senate Advances Bill to Boycott Sale of Products From West Bank Settlements (Haaretz, 29 Nov 2018)
Erdan blasts Irish Senate's advancement of 'settlement' boycott (Israel National News, 29 Nov 2018)
Ireland advances bill banning goods from illegal settlements on occupied land (i24 News, 29 Nov 2018)
Political and Legal Arguments
Minister Simon Coveney and the Government remain opposed to the Bill. This is based on two key arguments: firstly that the Bill is not compatible with EU law and secondly that it would undermine a role he envisages Ireland might play in a resumed Middle East peace process. These positions are not tenable.
1. In response to the Government’s position on EU law, this is a legal opinion authored by Takis Tridimas, Professor of EU law at King’s College London and practising EU lawyer who is "one of the most frequently quoted academic authors by Advocates General of the European Court of Justice and, on matters of EU law, by English courts." His opinion that the Bill is compatible with EU law is unequivocal.
2. In response to the Government position on a future peace process, this Sadaka paper outlines how the Trump Administration’s "peace plan," in which the Tánaiste has expressed faith, is not a peace plan at all and seeks to ensure that Israel will benefit from its longstanding and systematic breaches of international law, to the extreme detriment of the Palestinian people. It also explains how the Occupied Territories Bill has the potential to play an important role in creating the conditions for a just and meaningful peace process.
3. This opinion piece, written by Gerry Liston (Legal Officer Sadaka) and published in the Irish Times (26th November 2018) provides an excellent argument as to why the Irish Government should support the Bill.
Public meetings around the country
A number of packed public meetings on the Occupied Territories Bill were held around the country over the last few weeks. In Limerick and Cork respectively, Senator Frances Black was joined by Billy Kelleher TD and Niall Collins TD (both Fianna Fáil) to promote support for the Bill.
Cross party co-operation and support (with the exception of Fine Gael) on this Bill has been exemplary!
Thank you to all the Parties and Independents involved! Thanks also to the many elected representatives (in Sinn Féin, Labour, People Before Profit and Independents) who participated in these public meetings, to Trócaire, Christian Aid, ICTU, SIPTU, IPSC branches, Gaza Action Ireland and the many individuals who assisted in organising and promoting these meetings.
And finally thanks to you - members of the public - who participated in these meetings in such high numbers demonstrating the extent to which the people of Ireland demand that the Seanad pass the Occupied Territories Bill.
Chair, Sadaka – the Ireland Palestine Alliance
Occupied Territories Bill
The Occupied Territories Bill, developed by Sadaka and tabled by Senator Frances Black, will prohibit the import of goods and services which are produced in illegal Israeli settlements. Settlements are a war crime under international law.
Sadaka runs targeted campaigns on an annual basis, each one aimed at achieving a particular goal such as Irish Government Recognition of Palestine, pre General Election commitments on Palestine and similar goals.
High Level Fora and meetings are used to get particular messages to selected audiences. We focus on high profile speakers to attract key decision makers and people of influence.
Writing and disseminating high quality factual information and analysis on political developments in Palestine is a central tenet of what we do.
In partnership with the Curriculum Development Unit, Sadaka produced an education resource on Palestine available on the Irish secondary school curriculum. More resources also available.
Visiting Speaker Programme
Sadaka organises high level speaking tours with invited guests, primarily from Palestine. They typically involve meetings with the Minister, political party leaders, leading NGOs, trade unions and presentations to Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Political meetings are core business for Sadaka as we attempt to shift Irish foreign policy towards the achievement of political self –determination and human rights for the Palestinian people.
Sadaka has hosted lengthy speaking tours with leading Christian church leaders from Palestine to encourage the Irish churches to develop pro-active positions on the plight of their brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.
Sadaka has worked closely with trade unions since our formation building on their strong pro-active positions on Palestine.
Recent Media Items
Anti-Zionism Isn’t the Same as Anti-Semitism (New York Times, 7 December 2018)
Palestinian self-home demolitions: 'A new level of depravity' (Al Jazeera, 8 December 2018)
Music is a freedom that breaks every border': Young musicians in Gaza fight the siege to play for peace (Independent, 10 December 2018)
IDF raids in West Bank show how occupation becomes routine (Haaretz, 8 December 2018)
In blow to U.S. administration and Israel, UN fails to pass anti-Hamas resolution (Haaretz, 7 December 2018)
Despite Netanyahu's pressure, EU doesn't link anti-Semitism to anti-Zionism (Haaretz, 6 December 2018)
ICC prosecutors report ‘significant’ progress in Palestinian probe (Times of Israel, 5 December 2018)
Pelosi Emphasizes pro-Israel Leadership in Next House (Haaretz, 3 December 2018)
Gaza hospitals 'overwhelmed' by patients with injuries from Israeli fire (Middle East Eye, 29 November 2018)
Seven months of protests by Gaza fence: Over 5,800 Palestinians wounded by live Israeli gunfire (B’Tselem, 22 November 2018)
When Saudi Arabia imported teachers from Palestine – thanks to UNWRA (Haaretz, 24 November 2018)
Olive tree sabotage plagues Palestinian farmers (Times of Israel, 9 November 2018)
Ireland must ban goods from occupied territories (Gerry Liston, Irish Times, 26 November 2018)
What do the Palestinians want from the international community? (Middle East Monitor, 21 November 2018)
New legal advice finds Occupied Territories Bill is 'fully compliant with EU trade rules' (The Journal, 23 November 2018)
Israeli submarine mistakenly sank civilian ship in First Lebanon War (Haaretz, 23 November 2018)
Hurray for Airbnb (Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 22 November 2018)
Airbnb to remove listings in Israel's West Bank settlements (Independent, 20 November 2018)
Listings in Disputed Regions (Airbnb, 20 November 2018)
Netanyahu’s ceasefire is meant to keep Gaza Imprisoned (Jonathan Cook, Counterpunch, 21 November 2018)
UN Palestinian agency says it is overcoming Trump funding cuts (Jordan Times, 15 November 2018)
Israel’s Mockery of Security: 101 Actions Israel Could Take (Sam Bahour, Counterpunch, 14 November 2018)
More casualties sustained during the ‘Great March of Return’ in Gaza (UN OCHA, 16 November 2018)
Images of Qatari cash flowing into Gaza may embarrass Netanyahu - but alternative is war (Haaretz, 11 November 2018)
Israel is indirectly cooperating with The Hague’s probe into 2014 Gaza war despite past criticism (Haaretz, 11 November 2018)
"Visit historic Palestine, the Israeli army liked it so much they never left!", Banksy (The National, 8 November 2018)
Everyone knows settlers cut down Palestinian olive trees. But Israel doesn't care (Amira Hass, Haaretz, 5 November 2018)
The Only One Who Dared Stand Up to Trump (Haaretz, 5 November 2018)
Netanyahu: Events at Istanbul Consulate 'Horrendous,' but Saudi Stability Must Be Maintained (Haaretz, 2 November 2018)
Behind the making of the Emmy-winning film on Israel’s proudly racist soccer fans (Haaretz, 1 November 2018)