Ireland supports a ban on West Bank settlement products even though the EU is
unlikely to impose one, Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore has
“Ireland would support a ban at EU level, and put it forward as an
option the [EU] Council might consider, when we come to review the [council’s]
May Conclusions,” Gilmore said.
He wrote this opinion earlier this month
in a letter to the Irish parliament’s Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and
Trade, but which was only obtained by the media over the weekend. The “May
Conclusions” refers to recent decisions to increase enforcement of EU taxes on
Gilmore said he supported a ban on moral, not legal
grounds. He said that while settlements were illegal under international
law, the people who lived in them and the products they produced were
“I believe there is a moral case for banning settlement products,
and I agree it could have a symbolic impact,” Gilmore wrote.
It would be
consistent with European Union values and positions to exclude settlement
products, he wrote.
Gilmore cautioned, however, that he didn’t fool
himself into thinking that such a ban would make an economic impact on the
“I am somewhat concerned that attention is being focused
excessively on the issue of settlement products, which form only one aspect, and
a comparatively small one, of the problem. The key issue is settlements
themselves and their relentless expansion,” he said.
He cautioned that
the EU was divided on this subject, and that it was not possible to secure the
agreement of all 27 EU member states to ban settlement products.
noted that although his country was slated to take over the six-month EU
rotating presidency, it would not have the power to impose an EU ban. “We have
to be realistic about the scope available to the rotating presidency,” he
An Israeli official said, “This latest Irish crusade smacks of self
Banning settlement products would not further the
interest of peace and would only prolong the conflict, the official said.