Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence John Brady TD has called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to give a commitment to introduce measures here in Ireland to halt trade with illegal settlements, and to bring forward proactive proposals to the EU that would lead to the introduction of measures by the EU to stop member states breaking international law.
This follows the welcome development of the registration of a European Citizens Initiative (ECI), which calls for an end to trade with illegal settlements in occupied territories such as Palestine and Western Sahara, by the European Commission following a landmark legal decision by the European Court of Justice.
Teachta Brady said:
“The decision by the European Court of Justice is a hugely important moment. Previously the European Commission claimed a lack of competency to impose sanctions on trade with the illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine.
“The new ruling determines that the EU is required to comply with its international obligations. Which prohibits the EU from trading away the sovereign rights of occupied people over their homeland and resources.
“Through its decision to register the ECI, the European Commission is acknowledging that ceasing trade with illegal settlements is not a matter of imposing sanctions but is in effect an EU trade measure.
“This ruling has pulled the rug out from under those that would seek to avoid halting trade with illegal settlements on the basis that it lacked the authority to do so.
“This legal and moral victory needs to be translated into action.
“The Irish government has a duty and responsibility to ensure that trade from Ireland with illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories ceases – it is a crime under international law.
“The Minister previously argued against supporting the Occupied Territories Bill, on the basis that the Bill contravened EU trade rules. Something that Sinn Féin objected to at the time. The Minister’s argument obviously no longer holds any water.
“Ireland needs to now raise this issue at the European Council. This government needs to be proactive in pushing the EU to live up to its legal and moral obligations under the law.
“I am calling on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to give a commitment to introduce measures here in Ireland to halt trade with illegal settlements, and to bring forward proactive proposals to the EU that would lead to the introduction of measures by the EU stop member states breaking international law.”