Pro-Israel lawyers are to resume their legal battle against an “aggressive” Irish Bill that would make it illegal for Irish citizens or businesses to trade with occupied territories anywhere in the world.
Jonathan Turner of UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) and Ignacio Palacios, the Spanish counsel for New York based litigation fund The Lawfare Project, are targeting the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territory) Bill 2018.
The Bill was introduced earlier this year and passed its initial vote in the Irish Senate on Wednesday.
Its stated intention is “to give effect to the State’s obligations arising under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and under customary international humanitarian law”.
For this purpose, the Bill would “make it an offence for a person to import or sell goods or services originating in an occupied territory or to extract resources from an occupied territory in certain circumstances”.
Anyone importing or selling goods or service from and to the settlements would therefore be liable to a fine exceeding £200,000 or imprisonment for up to one year.
Palacios said the Bill “would enact an official, highly aggressive anti-Israel boycott policy within a national government that targets individuals not based on their conduct, but on their national origin and place of residence… That specific scenario had not materialised before”.
The lawyers said many large American companies have Irish subsidiaries for tax reasons, but that these companies would “face an impossible position” if the Bill passed, because they are also required to comply with US anti-boycott provisions.