Take one important action: urge Fianna Fail to support Frances Black’s bill banning Israeli settlement goods
On July 11th, the Irish Seanad will be presented with a unique opportunity for Ireland to be at the forefront of ensuring international law is respected and states, including Israel, do not profit from the occupation of other countries. Sen. Frances Black’s Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018 seeks to prohibit the import and sale of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories.
It is imperative that people use this rare opportunity to lobby Senators and local TDs, especially Fianna Fail representatives.
Fianna Fail hold the key – let’s get them to use it to open the doors of justice
The government party Fine Gael has made it clear it will not support the Bill, while Sinn Féin, Labour, the Green Party, and most independents have pledged to support it. However, only with the support of the largest opposition party, Fianna Fail, can it be passed. We firmly believe that Fianna Fail can be moved to support the issue, a move that would be fully in line with their longstanding stated commitment to Palestinian rights – but only if we, the Irish public, let them know this is what we expect of them.
We know your time is precious, so let’s not waste it by lobbying politicians who are likely not going to change their minds (but if you have time to do that too, fire away). Now is the time to contact Fianna Fail – FF Senators, your local FF TDs and the leader of FF, Micheál Martin TD – to let them know that you expect them to support this motion.
You can be sure that Israel lobby groups are already working hard to ensure this bill is defeated, so it is of the utmost importance that all supporters of Palestinian rights take action right now. Here are the actions you can take, in the order of importance.
1) Call into your local FF TD’s constituency office and let them know you support the bill and you expect Fianna Fail to act in accordance with their commitment to Palestinian rights.
2) Phone your local FF TD’s constituency office, phone FF Senators and phone Michael Martin TD’s office to let them know you support the bill. Just a couple of simple sentences is enough! Here is an example:
“I’m just calling to tell you that I expect Fianna Fail to support Frances Black’s Occupied Territories bill when it comes up for a vote in the Seanad in July. I expect Fianna Fail to take action to back up your stated commitment to Palestinian rights and vocal support for an EU-wide ban on settlement goods. Fianna Fail have a real chance to stand up for the Palestinian people and ensure Ireland is at the forefront of ending the profiteering from illegal settlements, especially those in Israeli-occupied Palestine. It’s clear the Irish public stand firmly behind Palestine, Fianna Fail have nothing to lose and everything to gain from supporting this Bill.”
A full list of Senators’ and TDs’ phone numbers and email addresses can be found here (Google Docs) .
3) Write a hard-copy letter to your local FF TD, FF Senators and Michael Martin TD’s office. Again, even a few sentences is sufficient.
4) Write a personal email to your local FF TD, FF Senators and Michael Martin TD’s office
A model letter template can be found here (Google Docs) and below are some key issues to mention – but please if you have time, write your own email or letter; 50 individualised letters, even very short ones, are worth 200 copied and pasted campaign letters.
A full list of Senators’ and TDs’ email addresses and phone numbers and can be found here (Google Docs).
This is an historic opportunity for Ireland to set a European precedent in respect of international law. The Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018 seeks to prohibit the import and sale of goods, services and natural resources originating in illegal settlements in occupied territories. Such settlements are illegal under both international humanitarian law and domestic Irish law, and result in human rights violations on the ground. Despite this, Ireland provides continued economic support through trade in settlement goods.
The legislation applies to settlements in occupied territories where there is clear international legal consensus that they violate international law. The clearest current example are the Israel’s numerous illegal settlements, including industrial and agricultural zones, in occupied Palestine, which have been repeatedly condemned as illegal by the UN Security Council and other UN bodies, the EU, the International Court of Justice, the Irish Government, and countless human rights organisations. The legislation will also be applicable to products from any other territories that are deemed to be occupied in the future.
This Bill seeks to have Irish domestic law fall in line with international law when it comes to the trade in stolen goods and the proceeds of illegal activities. This Bill can help end the international crimes of acquisition of territory by force and the colonisation of occupied lands.
- Be polite throughout any correspondence, even if someone says they will not vote in favour of it.
- Note that all Israeli settlements are illegal under international law and are war crimes under the Fourth Geneva Convention – no state except Israel disputes this – and this has been reaffirmed time and again by the UN (most recently in UN Security Council 2334 in 2016), the EU, the Irish Government and the International Court of Justice (2004).
- Mention how this Bill would set an important precedent in Europe and beyond that would back up words of condemnation with actions when it comes to stopping profiteering from stolen land and resources. Products from illegal settlements, including industrial and agricultural zones, or those natural resources extracted from occupied territories, are the proceeds of international crimes – Ireland should not allow itself to be a receiver of what amount to stolen goods.
- Note that the Bill has a sound legal basis in EU law, as confirmed by two eminently respected Seniors Counsels in both Ireland and Britain.
- Mention how Israel’s illegal settlement project continues to expand despite near-universal condemnation by the international community, with Israel’s ruling party Likud just last month making public its desire to illegally annex settlement blocs.
- Talk about how, in light of the US decision to recognise all of Jerusalem, including the occupied and illegally annexed East Jerusalem, as the capital of Israel, this Bill provides a method to help apply brakes to the emboldened rightwing government in Israel which has been massacring unarmed protesters in Palestine.
- Ask them to stand on the right side of history, to help Palestinians and other occupied people defend themselves from the colonisation of their lands, the theft of their resources and the crushing of their hopes for freedom.
Finally, it is important to remember that this bill applies both to illegal Israeli settlements, and potentially other such settlements in other countries, only. It is not a boycott of all Israeli goods, it is not a ‘BDS Bill’ – it is a Bill to incorporate international law into Irish domestic law with regard to occupied territories , illegal settlements and trade.
While we in the IPSC have long argued for such an outright ban of products from Israel, we have also long argued for just such an incorporation of international law into Irish law, and we strongly believe that this Bill, if passed, would be a huge step in the right direction for accountability for war crimes, and profiteering from those crimes, and would show real and concrete supportive for the people of Palestine.
We urge you all to take the time to write or call political representatives to encourage them to vote for this historic Bill.
A copy of the Bill is available here: Occupied Territories Bill 2018
A short explanatory note on the Bill’s main provisions is available here: Briefing Note – Occupied Territories Bill 2018
Senator Frances Black’s press release on the Bill is here: Launch of the Control of Economic Activities (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018