Iraqi parliament unanimously passes anti-normalisation with Israel law

Iraqi parliament unanimously passes anti-normalisation with Israel law
2 min read
26 May, 2022
The law, which threatens the death penalty or life imprisonment for calling for normalisation, aims to stamp out any effort in the future for Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan region to formalise ties with Israel. 
The law stipulates that any Iraq who visits Israel will be sentenced to life imprisonment, and those who establish any political, economic, or cultural relations with Israel institutions, even through social media, will be sentenced to death. [Getty]

The Iraqi parliament on Thursday unanimously passed a law criminalising any form of normalisation with Israel, Iraqi state media reported. 

The law, which threatens the death penalty or life imprisonment for calling for normalisation, aims to stamp out any effort in the future for Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan region to formalise ties with Israel. 

"There were many notes on the bill, but eventually it was passed in the parliament with the majority vote of the Iraqi lawmakers," Dilan Ghafur, a lawmaker from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) bloc and a member of the parliament's foreign relations committee, told The New Arab during a phone call. 

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According to the law, which was published by Iraq's state media in Arabic, all Iraqis, whether inside or outside the country, as well as state officials, including those in the northern Kurdistan region, government institutions, private sector companies, the media, foreign companies and their employees, are banned from establishing relations with Israel, visit the country, or promoting normalisation. 

The law stipulates that any Iraqi who visits Israel will be sentenced to life imprisonment, and those who establish any political, economic, or cultural relations with Israel institutions, even through social media networks, will be sentenced to the death penalty. 

Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr,  in a tweet on 23 April called for his Sadrist bloc members to introduce the law. After today's vote, Sadr in a new tweet described the law's passing as a "big achievement" and urged the Iraqi people to celebrate it.  

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In a move slammed by much of the Arab world and the Palestinians as a betrayal, four Arab countries - the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Bahrain, and Morocco - established diplomatic relations with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords, a US-led joint Middle East peace initiative.

TNA contacted Mohammed Anuz, head of the legal committee in the Iraqi parliament, but he was not available to answer questions on the bill.  

In September, a conference advocating for Iraq to join the Abraham Accords was held in the Kurdistan region's capital of Erbil with the participation of more than 300 Kurds, Sunnis and Shias.

The conference drew widespread condemnation in Iraq, prompting the Iraqi judiciary to issue arrest warrants for those who participated in the conference.