Iraq’s parliament has passed a law which makes it illegal for the country to ever normalise relations with the Israeli regime, and which will punish violations with a death sentence or life imprisonment.
The law, titled “Criminalising Normalisation and Establishment of Relations with the Zionist Entity,” was approved on Thursday with 275 legislators voting in favour of it in Iraq’s 329-seat assembly.
In a statement issued after the bill was passed, the Iraqi parliament said its vote “represents a true reflection of the will of the people, a brave national decision, and a position that is the first of its kind in the world in terms of criminalising the relationship with the Zionist entity.”
It added: “Therefore, we call on the Arab and Islamic parliaments to issue similar legislation that meets the aspirations of their peoples.”
Iraq has never recognised Israel and Iraqi citizens and companies cannot visit Israel. The two nations have no diplomatic relations.
The law was proposed by influential Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. “Approving the law is not only a victory for the Iraqi people but to the heroes in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon,” said Iraqi lawmaker Hassan Salim.
In 2020, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco entered United States-brokered peace deals with the Israeli regime.
Turkey has also recently pledged to strengthen already existing relations with Israel.
Other regional countries have also been fraternising Israel, including Saudi Arabia, which allegedly received a visit by the regime’s former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in November 2020.
The Iraqi law took effect amid widespread reports pointing to the northern Iraqi Kurdistan region’s cooperation with the Israeli spy agency Mossad.
On Wednesday, Iraqi groups said the Kurdistan region’s prime minister Masrour Barzani was training armed militias with “Israeli support” to create chaos and disorder in the country.
Earlier this year, Iran fired a dozen ballistic missiles towards the city of Irbil in the Kurdish-run north of Iraq, saying it was targeting an Israeli intelligence base.
The U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the decision is a stark contrast to the diplomatic progress other counties in the region have made with Israel, adding that the U.S. finds it “disturbing” as the legislation is “promoting an environment of antisemitism.”