Iraq’s federal government has banned the Israeli flag after the iconic blue-and-white banner featuring the Star of David was seen at a number of Kurdish independence rallies in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, the Iraqi parliament voted overwhelmingly to outlaw the Israeli flag, which it dubbed the flag of “the Zionist entity”, Yediot Ahronot reported.
Following the passage of the law, demonstrators waving the Israeli flag in public can face criminal prosecution.
Kurdish demonstrators have waved the Israeli flag at demonstrations following the Kurdistan independence referendum on September 25th.
While the motion to separate from the Iraqi central government and form an independent state won a solid majority, with more than 92% support for independence, the federal government in Baghdad has refused to recognize the vote and has sent military forces to occupy Kurdish neighborhoods in and around the northern city of Kirkuk.
Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, have expressed support for Kurdish aspirations for statehood.
"The Kurds demonstrate national maturity and international maturity," said the Israeli premier.
"We have very great sympathy for their desires and the world needs to concern itself with their safety and with their future."
Israel has been the only country to openly support Kurdish independence, with Netanyahu last month backing "the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to attain a state of its own."