Israel supporters in Ireland have protested against the country’s new Occupied Territories Bill in Dublin, as politicians debated the would-be law’s merits.
Demonstrators led by the Ireland Israel Alliance (IIA) described the Bill as “immoral, discriminatory and illegal” but Irish politicians say it “gives effect to the State’s obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention”.
The Bill would make it an offence for someone “to import or sell goods or services originating in an occupied territory or to extract resources from an occupied territory in certain circumstances”.
Senator Terry Leyden said his Fianna Fáil Party supports the Bill, arguing that it “has merit in sending a message to Israel that we are not satisfied with developments in Palestine and not impressed by the oppression of the Palestinians and the way they have been treated like dirt in their own country”.
However, protesters have said the Bill “only targets Israel,” ignoring other disputed territories in the world, which may fall foul of US trade laws. Both Ireland’s Attorney General and the European Union Commissioner have questioned the legality of it.
“This Bill would mean that you as a tourist in Jerusalem could be prosecuted for buying a souvenir from a Jewish owned shop or taking a tour with a Jewish tour company,” said IIA director Jackie Goodall.
“If the Bill is passed, it is likely to result in long drawn out legal battles [which will be] expensive, time consuming and unhelpful to the Israel-Palestine peace process.”