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Israel Cancels Diplomatic Trip to Ireland in Light of Pending Boycott Law


JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel's parliament canceled a delegation to Ireland Monday while Dublin considers a law that criminalizes the sale and import of Israeli products from eastern Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank. 

The delegation of Knesset members was due to travel in March, according to a statement issued by Speaker Yuli Edelstein's office on Monday.

"It is not surprising that Ireland is again seeking to harm and boycott Israel," Edelstein said.

"Many countries request to be hosted by the Knesset and invite Knesset members to visit them," Edelstein added. "We would be happy to utilize the time to reach a country that wants to cooperate with the entire State of Israel and not only with parts of it, instead of wasting our time on a country that is obsessively seeking ways to hurt it."

Ireland's lower house of parliament advanced a bill last Thursday that makes it illegal to sell or import Israeli products from the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and eastern Jerusalem. If passed into law, anyone who was caught selling or importing the products would be forced to pay a fine of up  €250,000 or spend five years in jail.

Israel called the vote a "disgrace" and asked to speak with Ireland's ambassador Friday.

"This is a clear expression of obsessive discrimination that should be rejected with disgust," the ministry said in a statement.

Ireland's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said in a statement his country cannot approve the bill because it is subject to the trade policies of the European Union. The EU has not banned Israeli products but labels them.

"Should Ireland be found to have breached EU law, as we would expect, the State would be exposed to potentially very significant fines, as well as legal costs. Fines recommended by the Commission in such cases can include lump sums of over €1.5 million, plus daily fines," Coveney added.

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