Kuwait to jail, fine anyone who deals with Israel
Kuwait's parliament on Friday passed a bill that could lead to imprisonment and large fines for anyone in the country who deals with Israel.
Last week, Kuwaiti MPs Adnan Abdulsamad, Hisham Al Saleh, Ali Al Qattan, Ahmad Al Hamad and Khalil Al Saleh drafted the bill, in a bid to harden the Gulf state's anti-normalisation stance and its continue support for Palestinian rights.
The bill will restrict any form of contact with Israel, while both Kuwaiti nationals and expat residents will be banned from visiting Israel. Additionally, any expressions of sympathy with Israel are to be outlawed.
Many Kuwaitis have already expressed a position consistent with that of the government. Last week, hundreds of Kuwaitis demonstrated in support of Palestinians and burned an Israeli flag following Tel Aviv's bombardment of Gaza. The rally was permitted by authorities despite coronavirus restrictions currently in place.
Kuwait has long upheld a rigid pro-Palestine stance, and has refused to normalise relations with Israel, unlike fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. It has also previously worked to stem pro-Israel views within the country.
Kuwait was also one of several Arab and Muslim-majority countries to condemn Israel’s forced expulsions in Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood and its raids on the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in early May. Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry declared the Israeli security forces’ raid on Al-Aqsa an act of clear disrespect towards Muslims and human rights.
The Gulf state said it would hold Israeli authorities responsible for any consequences of the escalation.