by Miceal O’Hurley
DUBLIN — Her Excellency Dr. Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid, Ambassador of the State of Palestine to Ireland, honoured Senator Frances Black with a Certificate of Appreciation for her remarkable Solidarity with the Palestinian people Dublin. In a ceremony held at the Mission of the State of Palestine, Dr. Jilan Wahba Abdalmajid presented Senator Frances Black with her Certificate of Appreciation. Her Excellency said the certificate signifies a, “well-deserved recognition of her exceptional contributions in steadfast support of the Palestinian cause“.
Commenting on the occasion, the Ambassador of the State of Palestine in Ireland said, “[I am] sincerely honoured to convey [Palestine’s] genuine gratitude to Senator Frances Black for her unwavering dedication to Palestine. Senator Black’s solidarity with Palestine is truly remarkable; she not only founded the Anti-Apartheid Campaign in Ireland but also marked a significant contribution by introducing “Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018” at the Oireachtas to upholding the international laws combat injustice and drew consciousness about the illegality of colonization in the Occupied Palestinian Territory”.
The bill was tabled in the Oireachtas by Frances Black, an Independent member of Seanad Éireann, in January 2018, who stated at that time, “…trade in settlement goods sustains injustice”. Prior to introducing the legislation Senator Black consulted Sadaka, Trócaire, Christian Aid, Amnesty International, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) during the drafting process.
Ireland has a $1 billion trade surplus with Israel, exporting more than $1.2 billion to the country in 2018. The “Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018” bill would ban any goods or services produced, even partially, in the Israeli-occupied territories—including the Golan Heights—or by Israelis who travel, even temporarily, beyond the Green Line. Trócaire estimated that, as of 2019, Irish imports from Israeli settlements amount to between €500,000 and €1,500,000 each year, out of €50 million total Irish imports.
The “Control of Economic Activity (Occupied Territories) Bill 2018” has been passed by majorities in both the Seanad (upper house) and the Dáil (lower house). However, Government has since “effectively blocked it”. If enacted, the bill would target goods or services imported to Ireland as well as the transactions of Irish citizens, Irish companies, and companies with Irish subsidiaries worldwide.
A media release from the Mission of the State of Palestine concerning the honour for Senator Black said “This momentous celebration stands as a profound and heartfelt expression of appreciation for Senator Black’s tireless and unwavering commitment. She serves as a beacon of inspiration for countless individuals who share the aspiration for justice, peace, and dignity in the world”.
Frances Black is an Independent Senator, singer and founder of the RISE Foundation, a charitable organisation working with people with a loved one in addiction. A strong advocate for social justice and equality, the Senator was elected to the 25th Seanad in 2016, becoming the first female Independent from the Seanad’s panel system in the history of the state. Senator Black is passionate about being a voice for the vulnerable, and continues to work with organisations in the voluntary and charitable sectors alongside her work in Seanad Éireann.