The Israeli Knesset has cancelled an official visit to Ireland scheduled for March in protest of the latest Irish bill that supports a boycott of Israeli settlement goods, Israeli and Irish media reported yesterday.
“It is not surprising that Ireland is again seeking to harm and boycott Israel, and the law that boycotts [illegal settlements in occupied West Bank] has serious ramifications for the relations between the two countries,” Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said.
Speaking to the Israeli TV Channel 12, Edelstein added: “So I ordered the cancellation of a delegation of Knesset members there.”
The Israeli government has also threatened retaliation on Ireland, including imposing tariffs on Irish goods imported by Israel.
Last week, Ireland advanced a bill which will prevent the sale of goods from Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and the occupied Golan Heights.
The bill – officially known as the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill – still needs to pass several more stages before being signed into Irish law, but it is expected to progress given its broad base of support from Irish opposition parties.
However Israel has reacted with anger at the bill, summoning the Irish Ambassador to Israel, Alison Kelly, to be reprimanded.
“The boycott attempts by the sponsors of the bill in Ireland are despicable, pathetic and hypocritical. We will act to prevent by all means the final approval of the Bill. If the anti-Semitic voices prevail in the Irish parliament and this despicable bill is passed into legislation, we will take retaliatory measures,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
“We will definitely consider our measures against the goods from Ireland and bilateral trade agreements,” he added.