Former Israeli officials call for boycott of Judea and Samaria in Irish Times

The letter urged the Irish government to implement the Occupied Territories Bill.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

In a letter published by The Irish Times on Thursday, former senior officials of Israel’s Foreign Ministry and parliament calling for Ireland to pass a bill boycotting companies based in Judea and Samaria.

“We are writing to you as concerned Israeli citizens to urge you to ensure that the enactment of the Occupied Territories Bill is included in the next programme for government in Ireland,” the letter began.

The letter was prompted by Israel’s unity deal, part of the agreement to which calls for annexation of about 30 percent of Judea and Samaria, Israel’s historic heartland. The Likud party says it will advance legislation in the Knesset regarding applying Israeli sovereignty over those territories as early as this summer.

On Wednesday, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said America is prepared to recognize an Israeli declaration of sovereignty over settlements in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley.

Echoing arguments normally heard from Israel’s enemies, the signatories to Thursday’s Times letter wrote, “This is a matter of grave concern to all of us who believe in a resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict based on the two-state solution, leading to peace, security and prosperity for all. Needless to say, unilateral annexation will lead to escalating crises in Palestine, Jordan, and the entire region, and runs the risk of turning Israel into an apartheid state.”

They went on to say they were “heartened” by a recent statement from Ireland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, who said that annexation would contradict international law.

Judea and Samarai Council Chairman David Elhayani demanded that the Foreign Ministry denounce the letter writers “who intentionally harm the State of Israel.”

“Calling for a boycott of business in the region at this time when we’re fighting against the coronavirus and hundreds of thousands of Israelis are not working is a spit in the face of the State of Israel,” he said.

Lawmakers in the Dail, Ireland’s lower house of Parliament, voted in favor of the bill in January, 2019. The bill included not only Judea and Samaria, but also eastern Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and, strangely, the Gaza Strip, which Israel abandoned in 2005.

The bill would make it a violation of Irish criminal law to purchase goods and services from Israeli companies in those areas. It would punish violators with up to five years in prison.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the vote at the time.

“Instead of Ireland condemning Syria for slaughtering hundreds of thousands of civilians, Turkey for the occupation of northern Cyprus and the terrorist organizations for murdering thousands of Israelis, it attacks Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. What a disgrace,” Netanyahu said.

Below is the complete list of signatories to the letter:

COLETTE AVITAL,

Former Israeli

ambassador to Portugal,

consul general in New York,

and member of Knesset;

ILAN BARUCH,

Former Israeli ambassador

to South Africa, Namibia,

Botswana, and Zimbabwe;

SUSIE BECHER,

Managing editor,

Palestine-Israel Journal;

AVRAHAM BURG,

Former speaker

of Knesset

and head of the

Jewish Agency;

ZEHAVA GALON,

Former member of Knesset and chair of Meretz Party;

Prof DAVID HAREL,

Vice-president of the

Israel Academy of

Sciences and Humanities,

Israel Prize recipient (2004), EMET Prize

recipient (2010);

Prof MOTY HEIBLUM,

EMET Prize

recipient (2014), member

of the Israel Academy

of Sciences and Humanities;

Prof YEHOSHUA

KOLODNY,

Israel Prize recipient (2010);

MIKI KRATSMAN,

EMET Prize

Laureate (2011);

ALEX LEVAC,

Israel Prize recipient (2005);

Prof YEHUDA

JUDD NE’EMAN,

Israel Prize recipient (2009);

MOSSI RAZ,

Former member of Knesset;

TZALI RESHEF,

Former member of Knesset;

Prof DAVID SHULMAN,

Israel Prize recipient (2016)

and EMET Prize recipient (2010);

Prof ZEEV STERNHELL,

Israel Prize recipient (2008),

Jerusalem.