Veteran US lawmaker Peter King has lobbied against an Irish attempt to ban goods from Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank.
CQ Roll Call Photos/Newscom
A prominent US politician has lobbied Irish lawmakers to reject a proposed ban on imports from Israel’s illegal settlements.
Peter King, a member of Congress for New York, is among those who have opposed a bill being debated in Dublin.
Although the bill – aimed at forbidding goods from Israel’s settlements in the occupied West Bank – seeks to uphold international law, King has depicted it as subversive.
King has tried to convince Fianna Fáil, one of Ireland’s largest parties, to withdraw its support for the proposed ban.
“It is critical that countries and leaders interested in facilitating a lasting peace amongst Israelis and Palestinians not serve to empower the most radical, who have no interest in seeking peace,” King stated in an email message addressed to Fianna Fáil’s team in the Oireachtas, Ireland’s national parliament.
He argued that the proposed ban on settlement goods “does just that by undercutting Palestinians truly interested in peace and empowering Hamas terrorists and recalcitrant Palestinians who refuse even to approach negotiations.”
King’s appeal was made in July and has not been previously reported.
Despite his strong connections with Ireland’s politicians, King could not persuade Fianna Fáil to change its stance. The party’s lawmakers have twice voted in favor of the Occupied Territories Bill, as the proposed ban on settlement goods is known.
Niall Collins, Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on foreign affairs, confirmed that King had been in contact with the party. Collins added that staff from the US embassy in Dublin had visited him “a couple of times,” urging him to oppose the bill.
During a trip to the West Bank in the summer, Collins was taken aback by the scale of Israel’s settlement activities.
“I struggle to see how a two-state solution can ever be achieved because of the whole proliferation of the settlements,” Collins told The Electronic Intifada. “The whole West Bank now is so fragmented that I struggle to see how that pipe dream can occur.”
The position taken by Fianna Fáil has proven vital towards having the bill approved by the Seanad,