(13 July 2018) Irish senate’s decision to pass Bill banning Israeli settlement goods is a significant step in the right direction

PR/EN/130718/24

 
BADIL Resource Center expresses its support for the Bill banning Israeli settlement goods passed at the Irish senate on 11 July 2018. BADIL  welcomes this groundbreaking legislation and hopes it can materialize into a law soon, which would make Ireland the first EU country to boycott Israeli settlement goods.

Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) constitute the most serious violations and grave breaches of international law. By trading with these settlements, European corporations are complicit in such violations. Not only are Israeli settlement goods being imported into the EU unrestrictedly, but they receive preferential treatment under the EU-Israel Association Agreement. BADIL’s recent publication “EU - Israel Trade: Promoting International Law Violations” provides the legal basis for the illegality of trade with Israeli settlements and the ineffectiveness of the EU Labeling Guidelines.

The passing of the Bill by Ireland’s senate constitutes a positive step towards holding Israel accountable for its ongoing lack of compliance with international law and it should inspire the EU and other states to take similar action. The 2015 EU Labeling Guidelines were a missed opportunity to not only force Israel to label settlement goods as such when exporting them to the EU, but also to restrict their access to the common market altogether. A ban on Israeli settlement goods is one of the most effective political tools at the disposal of the EU to put political pressure on Israel regarding its regime of , colonization, forcible displacement and apartheid imposed upon Palestinian people. EU member states should also end the preferential treatment for all Israeli goods in the EU until Israel complies with international law. If non-compliance continued, the EU should consider sanctions as a measure to bring Israel into compliance. Moreover, the ban should also include Israeli companies that operate on both sides of the Green Line, or that export goods produced in settlements but packaged or processed by the mother company inside Israel. These steps are legal responsibilities of the EU under its duty of non-recognition, the Guiding Principles of business and human rights, and the current Agreement between the EU and Israel.

The EU has adopted similar economic measures in the past to enforce the duty of non-recognition, as in the case of Crimea. This could serve as a precedent for the approach that could be adopted by EU states to reprimand Israel for occupying or annexing Palestinian territory.

Whether it is the EU as a whole or individual states that take the first step, it must be clear that simply condemning Israel’s ongoing colonial and apartheid enterprise is not enough. As stated by Irish Senator Frances Black, the Bill is the “bare minimum that should be expected of an EU member state and a country proudly committed to justice and human rights.” It is time for the EU, and failing that, for individual states, to take concrete action at the international level to force the compliance of Israel with international law.

BADIL calls on the EU and all EU member states to,
  • Take appropriate legislative and administrative measures to protect human rights and ensure that businesses operating in or domiciled in their territory and/or under their jurisdiction, including those owned or controlled by them, respect human rights and are not facilitating violations through their trade operations and business activities;
  • Ban all imports from and exports to settlements in compliance with the duty of non-recognition;
  • Ban all imports from companies based in Israel who have activities in or profit from production in the oPt and/or derive profits from properties of refugees and IDPs;
  • Annul the Association Agreement so long as Israel continues to be responsible for serious, ongoing and widespread violations and grave breaches of international law.