Irish Senate OKs bill banning Israeli settlement goods

            By Tayfun Salci</p>  <p>LONDON (AA) – Ireland’s Senate or upper house of parliament on Wednesday approved a bill that criminalizes the import and trade of goods and services originating in Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories.</p>  <p>The draft bill passed the committee stage last week.</p>  <p>While the Irish government opposes the bill, it will be enacted if it is approved by the lower house of parliament.</p>  <p>If this occurs, Ireland will be the first EU country to impose such a ban on Israeli settlements.</p>  <p>&quot;We will enact this vital bill with great support,&quot; Senator Frances Black wrote on social media.</p>  <p>In a statement earlier, Black also emphasized that the bill is a minimum requirement for being an EU country that is committed to justice and human rights.</p>  <p>The Israeli embassy in Dublin has condemned the bill, calling it &quot;populist” and “dangerous&quot;.</p>  <p>The Irish Senate voted 25-20 in July to advance the bill, which would criminalize trade with Israeli settlements, including those built in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.</p>  <p>According to the draft law, anyone importing or attempting to import from the settlements would be committing a crime punishable by up to five years in prison or a 250,000 euro fine.