Mixed reaction as Occupied Territories Bill dropped

Mixed reaction as Occupied Territories Bill dropped Caoimhe De Barra

Over a dozen religious leaders have said they are “delighted” the Occupied Territories Bill was dropped in the draft Programme of Government in a statement issued this week, while Trócaire have called for its implementation.

Signed by over a dozen clergy and lay people of a variety of denominations, the leaders stated: “This bill was seen by the Jewish people as part of the increasingly discredited Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement,” it said.

“We do accept that Sen. Francis Black had a good motivation in proposing this bill but pushing Ireland into an anti-Israel camp will not advance the peace process in the Middle East.”

Rather than mentioning the bill, the  draft programme states: “Ireland’s longstanding support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will remain an integral aspect of our foreign policy and we will continue to build consensus at EU level to take a more proactive approach in supporting a negotiated two- state solution and lasting peace process.”

It adds they will oppose any annexation or plans to apply Israeli sovereignty over territory in the West Bank.

Church-charity Trócaire issued a statement this week repeating calls for Ireland to “show leadership” by enacting the Occupied Territories Bill.

CEO Caoimhe de Barra said: “…the Programme for Government also reiterates Ireland’s support for international law and opposition to settlement construction in the West Bank.

“Ireland has a strong reputation on this front, but what we need to see is a willingness to move beyond words and towards action. The Occupied Territories Bill has the clear support of the majority of parties in Dáil Éireann. It is morally right and legally sound. We urge parties to continue to push for its enactment.”