The Occupied Territories Bill: Dail Éireann votes to pass legislation banning the import of goods from illegal Israeli settlements!
In a truly historic moment for Palestine, on Thursday January 24th 2019, the Dáil voted by 78 votes to 45 in favour of the Occupied Territories Bill. That means that the Seanad has passed and the Dáil supports in principle a Bill which, if enacted, will ban the sale of goods and services originating in illegal Israeli settlements established on stolen Palestinian land.
78 - 45!
That is the extraordinary majority of the vote in Dáil Éireann in support of the Occupied Territories Bill. Huge congratulations to Niall Collins TD and his colleagues in Fianna Fáil, to Sinn Féin, Labour, the Green Party, Social Democrats, People Before Profit / Solidarity and the range of Independent TDs who voted for the Bill. Significantly, three Government Ministers abstained, choosing not to support the Government in its opposition to the Bill. We are so proud of your representation of the will of the Irish people.
This is a major step in challenging Israel's impunity in its daily breaches of international law. The vote in favour of the Bill represents the strongest possible statement that Ireland as a nation will not stand idly by while Israel commits war crimes against the Palestinian people.
The Occupied Territories Bill was introduced to the Dáil on Wednesday, 23rd January, by Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Niall Collins TD and supported by all political parties (except Fine Gael) as well as by a large number of independents. There were many excellent contributions to the debate, a transcript of which is available here ).
"This is about doing the right thing at the right time and taking the lead."
Niall Collins TD, Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs
Pictured after the Dáil debate - Conor O'Neill, Policy Advisor to Senator Black; Stella Carroll, Media Officer Sadaka; Gerry Liston, Legal Officer Sadaka & GLAN; Senator Frances Black; Niall Collins T.D; Jilan Wahba, Deputy Palestininan Ambassador; Marie Crawley, Chair of Sadaka.
What happens next?
Without the votes to defeat it, the Government, which opposes the Bill, is now seeking to block its progress by withholding what is called a "Money Message" (more on what a Money Message entails here). The Bill will be subject to detailed scrutiny at a meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade. This is likely to be scheduled for April or May 2019. Within two weeks that meeting, a determination will be made as to whether a Money Message is required. Watch this space – Sadaka will continue to update this page as the Bill progresses.
Amnesty International Calls for Governments to replicate Ireland’s Occupied Territories Bill Adds its Voice to the Bill!
‘As well as calling on individual companies to stop doing business in and with the settlements, Amnesty is calling on governments to make this mandatory through regulation, and to introduce laws prohibiting the import of settlement goods. Each year, hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of goods produced in the settlements are exported internationally, despite the fact that most countries around the world have officially condemned the settlements as illegal under international law. In the UK, imported settlement goods include oranges, dates, spring water and halva desserts. The Irish Parliament is currently in the process of approving a landmark bill which would prohibit trade in goods and services with settlements, and Amnesty is calling on all other countries to do likewise.’
Media Coverage Ireland / International
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.
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
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The US’s Middle East ‘peace summit’ is nonsense. Palestinians are right to boycott it (Guardian, 25 June 2019)
Trump to unveil long-awaited peace plan at summit Israelis and Palestinians will not attend (Independent, 25 June 2019)
Peace to Prosperity (US White House, 24 June 2019)
Move to stop Dáil order which blocks Bills on potential cost (Irish Times, 24 June 2019)
Expectations low as Israeli-Palestinian peace conference convenes (Financial Times, 24 June 2019)
Grapes of wrath: how wine could bottle the Israeli-Palestinian peace process (Independent, 14 June 2019)
Attempted deportation of Palestinian man reveals tangled legal odyssey (Washington Post, 15 June 2019)
'Trump Heights': Israeli settlement in Golan named after US president (Guardian, 17 June 2019)
A Jerusalem hospital where Palestinian babies die alone (Guardian, 20 June 2019)
Palestinians instantly reject Trump’s $50bn economic peace plan: ‘Palestine is not for sale’ (Independent, 23 June 2019)
'Get Israel off our backs': Palestinians react to Kushner plan (Al Jazeera, 24 June 2019)
The Monthly Humanitarian Bulletin | May 2019 (UN OCHA, 20 June 2019)
He saw the Israeli missile heading straight at him. Seconds later, his family was dead (Haaretz, 20 June 2019)
No Palestinians, no Israelis, maybe even no journalists: What’s left of Kushner’s Bahrain summit (Haaretz, 18 June 2019)
Inside Israel’s million dollar troll army (Electronic Intifada, 12 June 2019)
Israel 'Has the Right' to Annex Parts of the West Bank, US Ambassador Says (Haaretz, 8 June 2019)
Israel gave this Gaza family a five-minute warning. Then it bombed its home (Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 6 June 2019)
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Pompeo delivers unfiltered view of Trump’s Middle East peace plan in off-the-record meeting (Washington Post, 2 June 2019)
Conquer and Divide: The Shattering of Palestinian Space by Israel (B’Tselem, 5 June 2019)
Israel to auction prefab classrooms donated by EU to Palestinians (Guardian, 31 May 2019)
Inside Lebanon’s most dangerous camps: Palestinian refugees who are incarcerated and abandoned (Independent, 8 June 2019)
US envoy says Israel has 'right' to annex West Bank land (Al Jazeera, 9 June 2019)
'Settler Spokesman': Palestinians and Israel's Left Slam Friedman for Annexation Remarks (Haaretz, 8 June 2019)
Kushner: Palestinians not yet capable of governing themselves (Al Jazeera, 3 June 2019)
US slashed Palestinian aid as a result of decisions by their leadership, Kushner says (Haaretz, 3 June 2019)
Democracy for every Israeli and Palestinian – it’s not hard Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 2 June 2019)
Islamic summit in Mecca supports Palestinians, backs Saudis in Iran standoff (Al Jazeera, 1 June 2019)
Declassified: Israel made sure Arabs couldn't return to their villages (Haaretz, 27 May 2019)
The Israeli clerks with the blood of children on their hands (Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 26 May 2019)
We Palestinians say to Trump: No to Bahrain, bribes and never-ending occupation (Nabil Sha’ath, Haaretz, 23 May 2019)
Gaza faces an unprecedented humanitarian crisis (UN OCHA, April 2019)
The most important detail in Kushner’s plan for the Palestinian economy (Haaretz, 21 May 2019)
Israel to demolish playground in unrecognized Bedouin village (Haaretz, 21 May 2019)
Amnesty: Israel arms human rights violators UAE, Myanmar (Middle East Monitor, 17 May 2019)
US-Israel relationship is ‘altar’ of ‘holiness,’ and Jerusalem embassy is ‘shrine’ — US Ambassador (Mondoweiss, 16 May 2019)
Ireland vs. Hungary: Report charts rising support for Netanyahu among EU states (Haaretz, 17 May 2019)
A year after Trump’s embassy move, only one country has followed U.S. to Jerusalem (Haaretz, 14 May 2019)
Record number of demolitions, including self-demolitions, in East Jerusalem in April 2019 (UN OCHA, 14 May 2019)
Trump's 'deal of the century' hasn't a hope of bringing peace (Guardian, 17 May 2019)
A Trip Advisor to the Real Israel (Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 16 May 2019)
Veteran Palestinian negotiator banned from travelling to US (Independent, 15 May 2019)
Tourists come face-to-face with Eurovision’s darker side: ‘No pride in apartheid’ (Independent, 16 May 2019)
One million face hunger in Gaza after US cut to Palestine aid (Guardian, 15 May 2019)
Why you should switch off the Eurovision tonight (Eamonn Meehan, Irish Times, 6 May 2019)
Israel and the Eurovision (Irish Times, 13 May 2019)
London protest demands Israel end 'unprecedented attacks' on Palestine (Guardian, 11 May 2019)
Phyllis Bennis discusses the recent Israeli bombardment of Gaza and the real nature of Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ (Real News Network, 9 May 2019)
1,700 Gazans Could Face Amputations Due to the Lack in Health Funding, UN Warns (Haaretz, 9 May 2019)
The Eurovision boycott row confirms it: Palestinian lives don’t matter (Guardian, 8 May 2019)
Hundreds of wounded Gaza protesters risk limb amputation without immediate help, warns top UN official (UN News, 8 May 2019)
The 'deal of the century': US blessing for Israel's land theft and ghettoisation of the Palestinians (Jonathan Cook, Middel East Eye, 9 May 2019)
Israel and the Eurovision (Irish Times, 10 May 2019)
Protection of Civilians Report | 23 April - 6 May 2019 (UN OCHA, 9 May 2019)
Israel Is Independent, but Not Free (Haaretz, 8 May 2019)
After cease-fire, Gazans still waiting on Qatari money and warn of relapse into conflict (Haaretz, 8 May 2019)
Qatar Pledges $480 Million for West Bank and Gaza Aid, Foreign Ministry Says (Haaretz, 7 May 2019)
The Palestinian Authority is no longer crying wolf over its imminent collapse (Jonathan Cook, 5 May 2019)
Gaza official: Israel agreed to implement ceasefire concessions within a week (Times of Israel, 7 May 2019)
Israeli government ordered military to end Gaza fighting before Eurovision (Haaretz, 6 May 2019)
Casualties in the context of demonstrations and hostilities in Gaza | 30 Mar 2018 - 30 Apr 2019 (UN OCHA, 6 May 2019)
The Gaza Ghetto Uprising (Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 5 May 2019)
Israeli settlers vandalize vehicles, spray death threats near Nablus (Ma’an News, 3 May 2019)
Ultra-Orthodox Political Power Threatens Israel's Economy, Study Says (Hagai Amit, Haaretz, 2 May 2019)
New push to stop US funding torture of Palestinian children (Electronic Intifada, 1 May 2019)