Ireland’s upper house, the Seanad, has approved a draft law that would ban the importation of products from Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, paving the way for the nation to become the first in the European Union to enforce a boycott — and, more importantly, sending a very loud and clear signal that Ireland is an ally in the long and just struggle of the Palestinian people. While the Bill still must go through the lower house — the Dail — before becoming law, there is a strong level of support from parliamentarians across all political parties who empathise and fully understand the resistance struggle faced by Palestinians on a daily basis.
Sentiment for the measure in the Seanad has been galvanised in recent months by the decision by President Donald Trump to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem, giving implausible credence to its claim as the capital of Israel. The recent massacres too of scores of unarmed Palestinian protesters in the Gaza Strip by Israeli occupation forces have also spurred this important and significant legislation.
The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement has proven itself to be an effective means of opposing Israeli occupation, hitting the illegal and immoral state in its pockets. By giving the movement the backing of legislation, Ireland is leading the way for others in the 28-member bloc to follow. Indeed, over the decades, the Irish have been proud supporters of the Palestinians’ cause, and both share common denominators of history — occupation, lands seized, the subversion of human rights by a power of occupation, institutional injustice and a just and righteous struggle for freedom. Other governments across the EU would do well to follow suit.