Mandate is today calling on all Senators to support the Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2017 proposed by Senator Frances Black and to be debated in the Seanad on Thursday 12th July 2018. This important Bill will make it illegal to purchase goods and services from Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories if and when it is passed by the Oireachtas. Last week Mandate welcomed the public announcement by Fianna Fail that Senators would vote in favour of the Bill.
Last week Mandate also issued letters to all CEO‘s of major retail companies in Ireland bringing to their attention this vitally important piece of legislation. Mandate made a direct request from CEO’s and their management teams to endorse the demand for companies based in Ireland to desist from trading, investing or any other commercial links with comapanies operating in, providing services to, or sourcing goods from the occupied territories. We further sought that companies pre-empt the legislation and adopt a course of action without being legally forced to do so and in solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine. It is clear the vast majority of Irish people feel a deep bond and solidarity with the inhumane experiences of the many thousands of people living in Gaza and the occupied territories of Palestine. Here is the letter issued to all major retail CEO’s by Mandate.
“Dear Sir or Madam
I am sure that you along with the vast majority of Irish and international society are appalled at the daily reports of loss of human life and suffering which is emanating from the current violent conflict in Gaza and the occupied territories of Palestine.
Whilst it is easy to become overawed and believe that little can be done to engage in activities which may positively impact on this deep rooted conflict, I believe every opportunity must be explored to positively influence it.
In this regard I draw your attention to the “Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018” which was debated in the Seanad on 20 June 2018.
I wish to bring to your attention this particular piece of legislation in your capacity as the CEO of a major retail business operating here in Ireland. As the biggest trade union active in the retail sector Mandate would ask you and your management team to endorse the demand for Irish companies to desist from trading, investing or other commercial links with companies operating in, providing services to, or sourcing goods from [the illegal] settlements. This Bill would give effect to the State’s obligations arising under the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and under customary international humanitarian law; and for that purpose would make it an offence for a person to import or sell goods or services originating in an occupied territory or to extract resources from an occupied territory.
If your company was to pre-empt this important legislation and adopt such a course of action now it would without doubt greatly help the most vulnerable caught up in the conflict but also assist your many customers and staff who on an increasing basis are faced with a dilemma of conscience in dealing with products which they see as tainted by association.
I hope that you not only take the time to read this letter but also deeply explore what measures your company might undertake to shine a light on and bring about an end to the current inhumane experiences of the many thousands of ordinary people in this part of the world.
For the record, we have sent this letter to the CEOs of all major retail business operating in Ireland.
For Mandate Trade Union