Government advises firms against doing business with Occupied Territories

Israel has occupied certain lands in contravention of international law, says DFA website

Palestinian farmer Basem Bani Jaber inspects his property which Palestinians said was burnt by Jewish settlers in in the West Bank village of Aqraba, near Nablus this week.

Palestinian farmer Basem Bani Jaber inspects his property which Palestinians said was burnt by Jewish settlers in in the West Bank village of Aqraba, near Nablus this week.

Fri, Jul 4, 2014, 01:00

The Government has issued formal advice to Irish citizens and companies warning them against investing in, or doing business with, Israeli enterprises in territories occupied illegally by Israel.

The advice, published yesterday on the Department of Foreign Affairs’ website, dfa.ie, states that, since 1967, Israel has occupied certain lands in contravention of international law. Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said the advice against commercial engagement was being issued “by many of our EU partners, [and] is a further step in making clear our opposition to the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory”.

He continued: “The advice is designed to assist Irish businesses and the general public to be aware of the risks involved in investment in settlements, and to make clear that the Government does not encourage or offer support in any way to such activity.”

The department said the places illegally occupied by Israel and on which illegal settlements had been built were the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), Gaza and the Golan Heights. The Government said the advice excluded the state of Israel proper.

Legal and economic risks

“Financial transactions, investments, purchases, procurements, as well as other economic activities (including in services like tourism) in Israeli settlements or benefiting Israeli settlements, entail legal and economic risks stemming from the fact that the Israeli settlements, according to international law, are built on occupied land and are not recognised as a legitimate part of Israel’s territory.

“This may result in disputed titles to the land, water, mineral or other natural resources, which might be the subject of purchase or investment,” it said. “Irish citizens and businesses should be aware of the potential reputational implications of getting involved in economic and financial activities in settlements, as well as possible abuses of the rights of individuals. Any person or company contemplating any economic or financial involvement in settlements should seek appropriate legal advice.”

Potential buyers and investors were also warned that any peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, or between Israel and Syria, could have consequences for property purchased or economic activities linked to illegal settlements.

However, the advice also stated: “The Government also wishes to reiterate its long-standing policy of complete opposition to any form of boycott directed against Israel, as well as its continued strong commitment to promoting our trade and business ties with Israel to the full.”