DUBLIN, Ireland - Ireland's upper house has approved a bill that criminalizes the import and trading in goods and services originating in Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories.
The draft bill known as 'The Conrtol of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018' was passed on Wednesday after it was approved at the committee stage last week.
Despite the governing opposing the bill, it will be enacted if it is approved by the lower house of parliament.
If this occurs, Ireland will be the first country in the European Un ion to introduce such a ban on Israeli settlements.
The official description of the bill is as follows:
"Bill entitled an Act to give effect to the State's obligations arising under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and under customary international humanitarian law; and for that purpose to make it an offence for a person to import or sell goods or services originating in an occupied territory or to extract resources from an occupied territory in certain circumstances; and to provide for related matter."
"Incredible - the Occupied Territories Bill has just passed all stages in Seanad Éireann! Ireland can be the first EU country to end trade in illegal #SettlementGoods. It now goes to Dáil for agreement, & with such huge support we'll make this vital bill law!" Senator Frances Black, who sponsored the bill said in a tweet.
Israel was quick to react.
"Truly incredible -The Irish Senate just approved a hateful boycott initiative against a friendly nation. This will not help the Palestinians and just push their leadership further away from negotiations. We hope it won't be approved by parliament," Emmanual Nahshon, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted on Twitter on Thursday.
The decision to advance the bill passed in the Senate 25 votes to 20 in July.
The settlements targeted by the bill include those constructed in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
Anyone breaching the law would be liable for up to 5 years in prison or a 250,000 euro fine.
The passing of the draft bill by the Senate has lit up social media with many applauding it, and just as many condemning it.