Baghdad
Baghdad Reuters

The Iraqi parliament is discussing a bill banning the normalization of ties with Israel, with the punishment being the death penalty or life imprisonment, The Arab News reports.

According to the report, the Iraqi Council of Representatives on Wednesday held the first reading of the draft law, which aims to stamp out future efforts for Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan region to formalize ties with Israel.

According to the bill, which was published by Iraq’s state media in Arabic, all Iraqi officials, including those in the northern Kurdistan region, government institutions, private sector companies and the media are banned from establishing relations with Israel or promoting normalization.

The bill was introduced by the Sadrist bloc, which won the most seats in the country’s October parliamentary elections, after prominent Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called for his members to introduce the bill in a tweet on April 23.

“The bill needs to pass several stages in order to become a law, currently it has been addressed to the parliament’s legal committee, where many changes would be made and then the parliament’s other committees would have their say on the bill,” Aryan Tawagozi, an Iraqi lawmaker from the New Generation faction and member in the parliament’s foreign relations committee, told The New Arab.

“We think the bill may include several points that might need changes, thus it is too early to have our say on the bill,” he added.

Four Arab countries - the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Bahrain, and Morocco - established diplomatic relations with Israel as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords in 2020.

This past September, prominent Sunni and Shiite leaders held a conference in the city of Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, in which they openly called for peace with Israel.

The Iraqi government condemned the conference, and a Baghdad court later issued an arrest warrant for two people who participated in it.

Iraqi lawmakers are adamant that Iraq will not join the Abraham Accords, despite calls on it to do so.

“We, as Fatih Alliance, totally refuse the issue of normalizing ties with the Israeli entity,” Mohammed al-Hayani, a leader in the pro-Iran Fatih Alliance, told The New Arab in a brief phone call. “We will certainly vote in favor of the bill in the parliament.”

He said that it is a necessity for Iraq to have such a law “because currently there are political sides that try to normalize relations with Israel.”

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