“I am up for it,” said EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Joseph Borrell when pressed on the possibility of an EU wide ban on imports from the occupied territories in Palestine by Fianna Fáil MEP, Billy Kelleher.

Mr Borrell made the comments during a meeting of the Renew Europe political group in which he addressed a number of current foreign affairs issues.

Speaking following the meeting, Billy Kelleher MEP said, “As we know, the last Irish government said that Ireland alone could not implement such a ban, as trade is an EU competence.

“However, Mr. Borrell in his discussion with me was up for looking into it such an EU wide ban as well as using a future Magnitsky Act-style to sanction Israel if it continues to oppress the people and State of Palestine.

“This is a welcome development and one which I hope will lead to a more effective response by the European Union. I have written to the incoming German Presidency of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and to the Irish Taoiseach asking them to prioritise this issue over the next few months.

“Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land cannot continue go unsanctioned. It is, essentially, an invasion and an attempt to undermine the viability of the Palestinian State.

“Economic sanctions must be part of the EU’s response. Exporters in Israel cannot have access to the European Single Market for products or goods produced in the Occupied Territories.

“We already know that less than 10% of goods and products originating in the Occupied Territories are labelled as such when offered for sale within the EU. This is not acceptable, and I believe we should go one-step further and, as a Union, ban the import of such goods into our member states. It’s the least we can do,” concluded Kelleher.