Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns has welcomed confirmation that the Taoiseach has finally commenced discussions with other EU states on possible economic sanctions against Israel.
“This is a welcome but overdue development. Since November last year, the Social Democrats have been calling for the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, which has an ‘essential elements’ human rights clause.
“This means either side can unilaterally suspend the agreement in response to serious breaches of human rights. We, and others, have argued that if Israel’s barbaric attacks on the people of Gaza are not sufficient to trigger this clause, then nothing ever will be.
“At the time, the Taoiseach said he would seek legal advice on whether the human rights clause had been breached – but he has failed to do that.
“I am glad to see he is now belatedly taking steps to lobby at EU level for this trade agreement to be reviewed. The EU is Israel’s largest trading partner, with trade between the two amounting to more than €46 billion in 2022.
“The fact that the US is about to impose a second round of sanctions against violent settlers in the West Bank – to potentially include Israeli politicians and government officials – underscores the EU’s lacklustre response to the Gaza conflict.
“Ireland must now use its influence to convince other EU member states to impose economic sanctions on Israel. We should also immediately introduce travel bans on extremist settlers, including those who are members of the Israeli government.”
February 1, 2024