New Irish government must halt trade in goods with illegal settlements

June 6th, 2020 5:10 PM

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SIR – Ireland is in breach of international law by trading in goods from illegal Israeli settlements. Israel’s illegal settlements violate peremptory norms of international law specifically as follows:

a) Obstruction of right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.

b) Acquisition of Palestinian territory by the use of force.

c) Violation of fundamental roles of fundamental norms of international humanitarian law.

d) Having an apartheid system of governance which discriminates on the basis of religion and race.

Simon Coveney has repeatedly blocked the bill on trade with illegal settlements on the basis that it would be at odds with the EU position and for fear that the US under the Trump administration would retaliate with trade sanctions. The problem with this argument is that it willingly subjugates our obligations as an independent state under international law because the EU has also chosen to ignore such commitments.

It is ironic that the EU restricts exports and imports from the Crimea, which it says is illegally annexed territory from Ukraine, while it continues to allow Israel to export goods from illegally annexed and occupied Palestinian and Syrian territories.

Clearly any new government will need to face up to this ridiculous situation as Trump politically and financially supports still more annexation of Palestinian land by Israel contrary to international laws as described. The annexations would have likely already started were it not for the trial PM Netanyahu is facing for taking bribes and fraud.

The EU warns Israel that ‘Steps towards annexation, if implemented, could not pass unchallenged,’ but fails to specify consequences for the massive EU support Israel receives if Israel proceeds into its next stage of Palestinian annihilation. The generous trade and co-operation deal with Israel whose validity was always predicated on Israel’s respect for human rights and international law has patently failed.

Israel’s continuing theft of more and more Palestinian land, demolitions, settlement of foreign Jewish immigrants, apartheid laws, military rule and blockades surely resonates with the majority of Irish historically and gives a certain understanding of and sympathy with the Palestinian cause. Any new government will surely wish to respect both international law and the will of the people in doing their part in bringing about an end to this Israeli aggression and vindictive persecution of the Palestinian people.

As a footnote, I refer first to Maerton Davis’ letter titled ‘Willing to live in peace with Arabs,’ which so blatantly contradicts his letter of March 16th, which stated: ‘It is not an Arab country, it is not a Muslim country, it is not a Catholic, Buddist or Hindu country. It is a Jewish country and will remain so, we will continue to fight and protect our land and whoever doesn’t like, has a choice of other countries to live in.’

This is the sectarian racist Zionist who accuses those who disagree with Israel’s colonialist project as ‘anti-Semitic.’ I would contend that anti-Semitism is expecting Jews to approve of and engage in the persecution of and forceful expulsion of indigenous Palestinians from their historic lands.

Bob Storey,

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