Monday, February 10, 2020

Ireland: Will Sinn Féin’s ascent hurt Israel-Ireland relations?

Via The Jerusalem Post:
With Sinn Féin, the political arm of the former Irish Republican Army, surging in exit polls in Saturday’s election, there is a real possibility that the next government of Ireland could take anti-Israel steps in the near future.

Sinn Féin, which has long held anti-Israel positions, reached 22.3% of the vote for the Daíl, Ireland’s lower house of parliament, the highest share of the national vote it has ever received, according to exit polls. […]

“Fine Gael, which has been in power since 2011, has been friendlier to Israel than Fianna Fáil or, for that matter, Sinn Féin, of course, which has been known to be extremely anti-Israel and very close to the Palestinian delegation in Ireland,” said Daniela Traub, Israel’s former deputy ambassador to Ireland. […]

Still, Irish journalist Michael Fitzgerald said: “You never lose votes for being anti-Israel here. Just about every party supports anti-Israel measures.”

There are two issues on the agenda when it comes to Israel and Ireland: the “Occupied Territories Bill” and possible recognition of a Palestinian state.

Both Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil said ahead of the election they support the bill to criminalize doing business with Israelis from the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. They also said they would recognize a Palestinian state. Both are popular positions shared by almost every party running.

If the “Occupied Territories Bill” becomes law, it could fine merchants in Ireland that sell products from the West Bank, Golan Heights or east Jerusalem for up to €250,000 or sentence them to up to five years in jail.

Sinn Féin’s election platform said it will “ban goods from Israel’s illegal colonial settlements in Palestine from entering the Irish market by implementing the Occupied Territories Bill.”
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