'Overwhelming support' for Occupied Territories Bill, which should be passed - Boyd Barrett

The bill has been passed by a majority in the Dáil and Seanad, but has not been enacted
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.04 2 Feb 2023

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'Overwhelming support' for Occ...

'Overwhelming support' for Occupied Territories Bill, which should be passed - Boyd Barrett

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.04 2 Feb 2023

Share this article

There is no basis for blocking the Occupied Territories Bill from becoming law, according to People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett.

The bill was passed over 18 months ago but has not been enacted.

In May 2021, Ireland became the first EU country to recognise the "de facto annexation" of Palestinian land, but is still trading with settlements that are illegal under international law.


Deputy Boyd Barrett told Newstalk Breakfast this bill should move forward.

"I think the bill should be progressed," he said.

"It was passed by Seanad, it was passed by a majority in the Dáil - including, at the time, Fianna Fáil who are now in Government.

"The bill was then blocked by Fine Gael using the money message.

"Democratically speaking, there's overwhelming support for it; there's no basis for blocking it".

Economic activity

The bill would see all trade banned between Ireland and any occupied territory around the world.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said this is a general bill, but aimed at Israel in particular.

"It would mean all economic trade of goods and services would be banned between Ireland and occupied territory of any sort," he said.

"Very specifically, what was motivating it was economic activity between Ireland and the territory that has been illegally occupied by Israel in the West Bank in particular.

"Illegal Israeli settlers have grabbed huge amounts of Palestinian land".


He said several international groups have called for sanctions against Israel.

"We've had now three reports - one by Amnesty International, one by Human Rights Watch and one by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Middle East - all of which have characterised the Israeli state as an apartheid regime that has been guilty since its inception of systemic oppression, apartheid and crimes against humanity.

"They have called for sanctions to be imposed against Israel for its inhumane treatment for Palestinians and its illegal occupation of their land.

"In the same way that the international community finally opposed the apartheid regime in South Africa".

'More engagement'

John McGuirk, Editor of Gript Media, believes there are other countries Ireland needs to look at.

"Iran, over the last three months, killed its own citizens - we don't know the exact number - simply for protesting for women's rights," he said.

"They killed more of their own citizens by judicial execution than have died in the Palestinian conflict in the last five years collectively.

"This is the only international border dispute in the world that the Irish left appear to care about."

Mr McGurk said many believe more engagement with Israel is the way forward.

"[Deputy Boyd Barrett] is talking about enacting sanctions, but the countries actually around Israel - countries who have traditionally been hostile to it like Saudi Arabia, like Qatar, like [the] Jordanian Kingdom - are actually normalising relations with Israel believing that more engagement is the way forward," he added.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said his party has condemned the Iranian government, including organising a briefing by Iranian dissidents.

Main image: Split image shows a file photo of People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett and a Palestinian flag at a protest

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Amnesty International Apartheid De Facto Annexation Human Rights Watch Ireland Israel John McGuirk Newstalk Breakfast Occupied Territories Bill Palestine Palestinian Land Richard Boyd Barrett West Bank

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