Israeli embassy criticises ban calls
Calls for a ban on goods from Israeli settlements in the West Bank were “objectionable” and the fact that the calls could be made by charities such as Trócaire was “disturbing”, Israeli ambassador Boaz Modai has said.
Though he declined to be interviewed over the weekend, Mr Modai referred to his opinion piece in The Irish Times in October, which he said was the “up-to-date position”.
In it he responded to a piece by Trócaire director Justin Kilcullen that called for a ban on imports from the occupied territories.
Mr Modai said there were many cases of disputed territory and yet campaigners saw “fit to single out Israel, and Israel alone, in a call for sanctions”.
“As Trócaire is an NGO [non-governmental organisation] I believe it is improper for it to involve itself in a partisan international agenda against Israel.”
He said there had been no new settlements in the West Bank since 1998 and the only subsequent construction for Israelis in the area was within the existing settlements.
He said people needed to remember a ban on goods from the settlements would hurt Arabs more than Israelis.
“Currently 15,000 Arab Palestinians are employed in these settlements. A ban on goods would have a negligible impact on the Israeli economy. But it would have a devastating impact on the Palestinian economy such as higher unemployment and diminished purchasing power,” he said.
He condemned “a disturbing, growing problem in recent years, namely the politicisation of charity”.
Groups such as Christian Aid and Trócaire had been “manipulated within and without by those with a radical left agenda”.