I am shocked and dismayed to see the immoral, discriminatory and illegal “Occupied Territories” Bill has now passed through the Seanad. This is a very dark day for Ireland indeed.
At the risk of repetition, the Bill is clearly immoral and discriminatory because it is worded in a manner that targets only Israel and completely ignores other disputed territories around the world. Please cast your minds on the areas below:
Turkey occupies approximately 30% of the Republic of Cyprus since 1974
Morocco occupies Western Sahara since 1975
Armenia occupies Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts, all recognized internationally de jure as part of Azerbaijan, since 1994
Russia occupies Abkhazia and South Ossetia since 2008
Russia occupies parts of what was formerly accepted as Ukranian territory
Are there any plans to address the above? It appears unlikely.
Legally, the Bill is contrary to EU law and WTO agreements and conflicts with the positions of Ireland and the EU in the Brexit negotiations. If enacted, it would put international businesses in an impossible position and expose Ireland to legal actions for damages and potentially to US trade sanctions. So why do it? What is the real thrust and motivation behind this Bill?
That aside, the passing of this Bill in the Seanad comes across as arrogant and highly partisan. The situation in Israel-Palestine is extremely complex, but it seems only one side of a very complex story is being listened to. Oireachtas members were apparently deluged with letters, emails and petitions, along with delegations from Palestinian NGOs paying timely visits, not to mention photo-ops outside Leinster House with large umbrellas in the Pan Arab colours!
The spectacle would have been considered farcical, had it not been for the shameful Frances Black roadshow that toured parish halls, community centres and rented hotel rooms throughout Ireland, where hatred of Israel and the defamation of Israelis was often on open display.
Furthermore, how would Ireland react if Israel, or any other foreign nation for that matter, decided to make unilateral judgements on the position of the six counties of Northern Ireland? Israel’s boundaries and the status of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, aka the West Bank, are surely matters to be settled by negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians, not by the diktat of Dáil Éireann.
On a last note, there has been a noticeable increase in online Israel hatred and anti-Semitism since this Bill passed its first Seanad vote in July. It would appear that every type of discrimination in frowned upon in progressive Ireland, except when it comes to Israel and the Jews.
Please put this Bill where it belongs – in the dustbin! If it passes, it won’t end there, it will just be the beginning!