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Liberman calls for closure of Dublin embassy in reply to settlement boycott bill

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman at a local government conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday February 14 2018.
Ariel Harmoni/Ministry of Defense

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called on Thursday for the “immediate” closure of Israel’s embassy in Dublin in response to the Irish senate’s advancing of a bill criminalizing the import or sale of goods from various occupied territories, including Israeli settlements.

“There is no point in summoning the Ambassador of Ireland in Israel for reprimand,” Liberman tweeted. “With haters of Israel there is nothing to debate. Israel should immediately close the embassy in Dublin. We won't turn the other cheek to those who boycott us.”

Liberman was responding to an Irish senate vote in favor of legislation that would criminalize trade with Israeli settlements with penalties of up to five years’ imprisonment or a fine of €250,000.

The bill was passed in the senate by a vote of 25 to 20, but still needs to be approved by the House of Representatives before it becomes law.

Israel responded to the vote late Wednesday, expressing concern over the "populist, dangerous and extremist boycott". The Palestinians, on the other hand, expressed "sincere appreciation" for the initiative.

AP Photo/ John Cogill

The “Occupied Territories Bill” was first introduced by an senator in January, but was delayed at the request of Ireland’s minority government, headed by the Fine Gael party, which does not support it despite denouncing Israel’s settlements policy.

“The Irish Government has always condemned construction of illegal settlement. But this Bill asks Irish govt to do something it is not legally empowered to do — trade is an EU competence, not an Irish one,” tweeted Foreign Ministry Simon Coveney last week.

The bill would have a “polarising” effect “at this time”, the Irish foreign minister said, stipulating that he would be “open to persuasion” in the future if there were no progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Foreign affairs spokesman for the opposition Fianna Fáil party told i24NEWS that he did not view the bill “as a boycott of Israel,” as it also applies to trade from Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus and Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara.

The Irish opposition party said it hoped the passage of the bill would “mark the beginning of a new stage in which Israel starts to pay an international political, economic and moral price for its actions,” and “a new stage in treating the Zionist lobby as a danger to the values that Europe claims to represent.”

GPO

Israel’s foreign ministry replied immediately with condemnation, calling it a “radical, anti-Israeli populist boycott that “undermines prospects for a dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians,” as well as harms Palestinians working for those boycotted companies.

“The absurdity of the Irish Senate is that the boycott will harm the livelihood of many Palestinians working in the Israeli industrial zones affected by the boycott,” the statement said.

The ministry said Israel would consider its legislative options in response.

Israel enacted last year a law that enables it to deny the entry of foreign citizens who make a “public call for boycotting Israel” or the settlements, when such a call has a “reasonable possibility” of succeeding. Many supporters of boycotts against Israel have been denied visas under the law or deported upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport.

Comments

(4)

The Irish have never had half a brain, after the British left, they couldn't do anything right, this attitude of a few drags the rest down to their level, all those "Irish " jokes were true. To be such a hard catholic country, now to have the priests lose control, islam and terror states have foothold in EU. stupid Irish.

Screw the Irish. Can’t stand their whiskey.

A few US companies could not do biz with Ireland under us anti boycott law Israel. That includes Apple, and I Think Trumps golf club. Ireland has been the savior of the Pals. Recall the ambassador.

Many must be the victims of the fetal alcohol syndrome.

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