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Over 300 prominent Iraqis publicly call for full peace with Israel


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Over 300 prominent Iraqis publicly call for full peace with Israel

Unprecedented event in Erbil features Sunni and Shiite leaders and activists demanding that Baghdad join Abraham Accords; Lapid: Event in Iraq is a ‘source of hope and optimism’

By LAZAR BERMAN and AARON BOXERMAN24 September 2021, 10:09 pm  
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The cover page of an Israeli Foreign Ministry Facebook page, 'Israel in Iraqi dialect,' launched in May 2018 (screen shot: Facebook)
The cover page of an Israeli Foreign Ministry Facebook page, 'Israel in Iraqi dialect,' launched in May 2018 (screen shot: Facebook)

Hundreds of Iraqi leaders and activists gathered in the country’s Kurdistan region on Friday to publicly call for full normalization with Israel.

The group, which includes Sunni and Shiites, youth activists and tribal leaders, said the next step after the dramatic announcement would be to seek “face-to-face talks” with Israelis.

The 312 Iraqi men and women issued their statements from a hotel in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region. The conference was organized by the New York-based Center for Peace Communications, which works to advance engagement between Arabs and Israelis, and to protect activists supporting normalization.

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  • yota691 changed the title to Over 300 prominent Iraqis publicly call for full peace with Israel

Prominent Iraq community leaders call for normalisation with Israel

 
September 25, 2021 at 11:17 am | 
Iraqis attend the conference of peace and reclamation organised by US think-tank Center for Peace Communications (CPC) in Arbil, the capital of northern Iraq's Kurdistan autonomous region, on September 24, 2021. - More than 300 Iraqis, including tribal leaders, attended a conference in autonomous Kurdistan organised by a US think-tank demanding a normalisation of relations between Baghdad and Israel, organisers said. (Photo by Safin HAMED / AFP) (Photo by SAFIN HAMED/AFP via Getty Images)
More than 300 Iraqis, including tribal leaders, attended a conference in autonomous Kurdistan organised by a US think-tank demanding a normalisation of relations between Baghdad and Israel, organisers said, on September 24, 2021. [SAFIN HAMED/AFP via Getty Images]
 
September 25, 2021 at 11:17 am

More than 300 Iraqis from Baghdad, Mosul, Al-Anbar, Babel, Salahuddin and Diyala on Friday called for Iraq to normalise relations with Israel through the Abraham Accords, Israeli media reported.

According to Ynet News, Sunni and Shia community leaders have called for Iraq to join the Abraham Accords and establish diplomatic relations with Israel.

Israeli Channel 12 reported that the chief of the largest Arab tribe in the Middle East, and former generals from the Iraqi army, have called for normalising relations with Israel.

According to Israeli TV, Chemi Peres, son of late Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres, attended the press conference during which the Iraqi leaders called for the normalisation of ties.

 

During the conference, which was secured by Kurdish forces and hailed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Peres spoke in Hebrew about the need for peace.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid was reported by Ynet News stating that the event: "Inspires hope for places we have not thought of before."

He also affirmed: "We and Iraq share a common history and roots in the Jewish community, and whenever someone reaches out to us, we will do everything to reach back."

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The Iraqi government: Normalization with the Israeli entity is constitutionally and legally rejected

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2021-09-25

 

Baghdad-Sana

The Iraqi government confirmed today that normalization with the Israeli entity is constitutionally and legally rejected by Iraq.

And the Iraqi News Agency quoted a statement by the Prime Minister’s Information Office as saying that “the Iraqi government has clearly expressed Iraq’s consistent historical position in support of the just Palestinian cause and the defense of the rights of the Palestinian people, foremost of which is their right to an independent state with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, and rejecting all forms of settlement, aggression and occupation that it practices (( Israel) against the brotherly Palestinian people.”

The statement announced the categorical rejection of the illegal meetings held by some tribal figures residing in the city of Erbil in the Kurdistan region under the slogan of normalization with (Israel), stressing that the government confirms that these meetings do not represent the people and residents of Iraqi cities, but rather the positions of those who participated in them, as well as an attempt to confuse On the general situation in light of the readiness of all Iraqi cities to run for fair, early and early elections.

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 2021-09-25 05:56
 

Shafaq News/ The Ministry of Interior of the Kurdistan Regional Government issued today, Saturday, a clarification about a meeting held yesterday in Erbil under the title (Peace and Recovery).

The ministry said in a statement received by Shafaq News Agency, that the meeting was held without the knowledge, approval and participation of the regional government, and it does not express in any way the position of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

The statement added that the necessary measures will be taken to follow up on how this meeting will be held.

On Friday, September 24, 300 Iraqi Sunni and Shiite figures called for Iraq to become the latest Muslim-majority country to join the Ibrahim agreements and establish diplomatic relations with Israel.

According to a statement issued by the assembly, it includes more than 300 Iraqis from Baghdad, Mosul, Anbar, Babil, Salah al-Din and Diyala, calling on Iraq in general to enter into relations with Israel and its people through the Ibrahim Agreements, similar to the Arab countries that have been normalized.

In turn, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid welcomed the Iraqi gathering's call for normalization with his country, describing the event as "a hopeful event."

The minister was quoted by the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper as saying that the event "reveals hope in places we hadn't thought of before."

"We and Iraq share a common history and roots in the Jewish community, and whenever someone contacts us, we will do everything to connect with them," he added.

Earlier this morning, the Iraqi government expressed its "categorical" rejection of the "illegal" meetings held by some tribal figures residing in the city of Erbil in the Kurdistan Region, by raising the slogan of normalization with Israel.

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The government announces its categorical rejection of the meetings seeking normalization with the Zionist entity in Iraq
  
{Political: Al Furat News} The Iraqi government announced, on Saturday, its categorical rejection of the meetings seeking normalization with the Zionist entity in Iraq.

The media office of the Prime Minister stated in a statement that {Euphrates News} received a copy of it, that "the Iraqi government expressed its categorical rejection of the illegal meetings, which were held by some tribal figures residing in the city of Erbil in the Kurdistan Region, by raising the slogan of normalization with Israel." 

And the government stressed, "Starting that these meetings do not represent the people and residents of Iraqi cities, which these figures desperately try to speak in the name of their residents, and that they represent the positions of those who participated in them only, as well as an attempt to confuse the general situation and revive the abhorrent sectarian tone, in light of the readiness of all Iraqi cities. To run for fair, early and early elections, in line with the aspirations of our people and to devote the national path that the government was keen to adopt and follow.” 

On the other hand, proposing the concept of normalization is constitutionally, legally, and politically rejected in the Iraqi state, and that the government clearly expressed Iraq’s consistent historical position in support of the just Palestinian cause, and the defense of the rights of the Palestinian people, foremost of which is their right to an independent state with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, and rejecting all forms of settlement and aggression The occupation by Israel against the Palestinian people 

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7 hours ago, OMEGA3 said:

Over 300 prominent Iraqis publicly call for full peace with Israel

Unprecedented event in Erbil features Sunni and Shiite leaders and activists demanding that Baghdad join Abraham Accords; Lapid: Event in Iraq is a ‘source of hope and optimism’

By LAZAR BERMAN and AARON BOXERMAN24 September 2021, 10:09 pm  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
The cover page of an Israeli Foreign Ministry Facebook page, 'Israel in Iraqi dialect,' launched in May 2018 (screen shot: Facebook)
The cover page of an Israeli Foreign Ministry Facebook page, 'Israel in Iraqi dialect,' launched in May 2018 (screen shot: Facebook)

Hundreds of Iraqi leaders and activists gathered in the country’s Kurdistan region on Friday to publicly call for full normalization with Israel.

The group, which includes Sunni and Shiites, youth activists and tribal leaders, said the next step after the dramatic announcement would be to seek “face-to-face talks” with Israelis.

The 312 Iraqi men and women issued their statements from a hotel in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region. The conference was organized by the New York-based Center for Peace Communications, which works to advance engagement between Arabs and Israelis, and to protect activists supporting normalization.

Abraham Accord! Peace across the world coming soon! Thank you Donald Trump!!

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We have nothing to do..Barzani's party denounces Baghdad's verbal attacks regarding the normalization conference of Erbil

political12:21 - 09/26/2021

 
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Special - Mawazine News
The Kurdistan Democratic Party, led by Massoud Barzani, expressed, on Sunday, its astonishment at the attack against the Kurdistan region due to the recent conference held in Erbil.
Party member Imad Baglan said in an interview with Mawazine News that "Kurdistan has nothing to do with the conference, and it was held under the name of peace and recovery, and this statement was delivered to a group of tribal sheikhs from the provinces liberated from ISIS."
Baglan added, "Kurdistan will not be part of the problems between Sunnis and Shiites, and we are surprised by this fierce attack and electoral auctions, and the reactions are to improve the parties' image in front of their voters, especially before the fortieth of Imam Hussein, peace be upon him."
He pointed out that "these auctions and investing these issues will not benefit the Palestinian cause or any other issue."
The first Karkh investigation court had issued an earlier, an arrest warrant against the plaintiff (Wissam Al-Hardan) following the role he played in calling for normalization with (Israel). Karim Al-Tai) for the same crime, and legal measures will be taken against the rest of the participants as soon as their full names are known. Ended 29/A 43

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The judiciary issues arrest warrants against new participants in the normalization conference.. document

political12:29 - 09/26/2021

 
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Baghdad - Mawazine News
, the Ramadi Investigation Court issued, on Sunday, an arrest warrant against new participants in the (calling for normalization) conference.
The Governor of Anbar, Ali Farhan Al-Dulaimi, submitted the complaint against those who participated in the conference (calling for normalization with Israel). Following this complaint, the Ramadi Investigation Court issued an arrest warrant against a number of the defendants, including (Wissam Abd Ibrahim Hardan Al-Ithawi) and (Ali Wissam Abd Ibrahim Al-Ethawi), (Raysan Dhaar Allawi Al-Halbousi) and (Abdullah Atallah Ahmed Saleh Al-Jaghifi).
It is noteworthy that the National Security Adviser has previously submitted news on the same subject to the Karkh First Investigation Court, so these complaints will be unified with the party to which the news was first submitted, pursuant to the provisions of Article (54/A) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Ended 29/A43

 

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In the document, a third arrest warrant was issued against the organizers of the Erbil Normalization Conference

political02:00 - 09/26/2021

 
image
 
 

 

 

Baghdad - Mawazine News
, on Sunday, the judge of the Najaf Investigation Court issued an arrest warrant against the organizers of the last Erbil conference.
Earlier, the Ramadi Investigation Court issued an arrest warrant for new participants in the (calling for normalization) conference.
The Governor of Anbar, Ali Farhan Al-Dulaimi, submitted the complaint against those who participated in the conference (calling for normalization with Israel). Following this complaint, the Ramadi Investigation Court issued an arrest warrant against a number of the defendants, including (Wissam Abd Ibrahim Hardan Al-Ithawi) and (Ali Wissam Abd Ibrahim Al-Ethawi), (Raysan Dhaar Allawi Al-Halbousi) and (Abdullah Atallah Ahmed Saleh Al-Jaghifi).
Today, the Karkh First Investigation Court, based on information provided by the National Security Adviser, issued an arrest warrant for the so-called (Wissam Al-Hardan), following the role he played in calling for normalization with (Israel).
It was also issued an arrest warrant against the so- called (Alusi) and the employee in the Ministry of Culture (Sahar Karim al - Tai) for the same crime. "
The national security Chancellery previously provided news on the same topic at the court of inquiry Karkh first so will be consolidated complaints with the authority To which the news was first submitted, pursuant to the provisions of Article (54 / A) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Ended 29 / A 43

 

1126920218dd1e0f3-590a-461b-8278-1d67c76

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A representative of Sadikoun: Most of the personalities participating in the Erbil conference visited Tel Aviv

political03:28 - 09/26/2021

 
image
 
 

 

Baghdad - Mawazine News
, a member of the Sadiqoun Parliamentary Bloc, Abdul Amir Taiban, on Sunday, called on the government to implement judicial orders to arrest the personalities who called for normalization in Erbil.
Taiban said in a television interview followed by "Mawazine News", that the Erbil conference received American and Gulf support, while calling on the Baghdad government to hold the region accountable for holding such conferences, which the Iraqi people reject.
He added, "I call on Parliament for an emergency session to discuss the issue of normalization that started from Erbil," noting that most of the personalities participating in the conference had visited Tel Aviv.
Last Friday, Erbil hosted a conference entitled (Recovery and Peace), in which the attendees called for normalization with Israel publicly. Ended 29/R77

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Saeroon: Anyone who thinks of normalization will be cut to pieces

political03:29 - 09/26/2021

 
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Baghdad - Mawazine News
, a deputy from the Sairoon Alliance, Badr Al-Ziyadi, considered that as long as the Shiites exist, there is no place for normalization, noting that "anyone who thinks of normalization, the Iraqi people will cut him to pieces."
Al-Ziyadi said in a television interview, "The Kurdistan region made it clear that the conference is for civil society organizations, but they came out with different speeches from what they agreed upon, and the Kurdistan Regional Government's Ministry of Interior stated that it will conduct an investigation on this issue."
 He considered these conferences "empty and do not affect public opinion, and that the Iraqi position is with the slogan of no normalization with Israel," noting that "anyone who thinks of normalization, the Iraqi people will cut him to pieces."
Al-Zayadi ruled out the possibility of a "national figure" thinking of normalization, noting that "Israel is an occupying state of a Palestinian Arab country, and this is the position of all honorable Iraqis."
 Al-Ziyadi stressed that "there is Arab pressure from those who have restored and normalized their relations with Israel, but the Iraqi position is clear and there is no normalization with Israel."
 In response to the possibility that there will be Arab or Western pressures on some political blocs and push them to normalize in order to win the elections, Al-Ziyadi clarified that "the percentage of fraud in the elections will be very small, because they are electoral districts, and they will be international and local oversight, so the loser in the elections He gives promises of normalization, as well as his call for the restoration of relations in order to obtain a number of seats in the next parliament," adding that "large and powerful blocs are not affected by pressure."
Al-Ziyadi noted that "there are parties funded and paid by certain parties to promote normalization and they have interests, and the Shiite sense is known to be against normalization, and not every group in it is free of traitors and tails who go after money," adding that "Shiite leaders in Najaf are impossible to Think of normalization, not now or after a thousand years."

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In the document, the Ramadi investigation issues an arrest warrant for 4 participants in the normalization conference with Israel
  
{Local: Al Furat News} Ramadi Investigation Court issued, on Sunday, an arrest warrant for 4 participants in the normalization conference with Israel

A statement to the media of the judiciary, of which {Euphrates News} received a copy, stated, "The Governor of Anbar, Ali Farhan Al-Dulaimi, submitted the complaint against those who participated in the (calling for normalization with Israel) conference. As a result of this complaint, the Ramadi Investigation Court issued an arrest warrant against a number of the defendants, who are all (Wissam Abdul Ibrahim Hardan Al-Ithawi), (Ali Wissam Abdul Ibrahim Al-Ithawi), (Raysan Dhaar Allawi Al-Halbousi) and (Abdullah Atallah Ahmed Saleh Al-Jaghifi).

It is noteworthy that "the National Security Adviser has previously submitted news on the same issue to the Karkh First Investigation Court, so these complaints will be unified with the party to which the news was first submitted, pursuant to the provisions of Article (54 / A) of the Code of Criminal Procedure."

remission 

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 Baghdad: morning
 
Yesterday, Saturday, the Presidencies of the Republic, the Ministers and the House of Representatives condemned the calls for normalization with the Zionist entity, whose slogans were raised by some personalities during a conference they held in Erbil on Friday. Palestinians in obtaining their stolen rights.
A spokesman for the Presidency of the Republic said in a statement yesterday, Saturday: "While the Presidency of the Republic affirms Iraq's firm position and support for the Palestinian cause and the implementation of the full legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, it renews Iraq's categorical rejection of the issue of normalization with Israel, and calls for respecting the will of the Iraqis and their independent national decision." ". The Presidency of the Republic also confirmed, according to the statement, that "the last meeting that was held to promote this concept does not represent the people and residents of Iraqi cities, but only the positions of those who participated in it, in addition to being an attempt to inflame the general situation and target civil peace." And the Presidency of the Republic called "to refrain from promoting nationally and legally rejected concepts that affect the feelings of Iraqis, at a time when we must prepare for fair and transparent elections that support the national track in Iraq and restore a free and dignified life for all Iraqis."
In turn, the government affirmed its categorical rejection of the illegal meetings held by some tribal figures residing in the city of Erbil in the Kurdistan region, by raising the slogan of normalization with Israel, stressing that "normalization with Israel is constitutionally and legally rejected."
For his part, Parliament Speaker Muhammad al-Halbousi stressed that Iraq has a consistent historical position on the Palestinian issue, and our position rejecting the so-called (normalization) with the Zionist entity will not change. 
Al-Halbousi said in a tweet to him on "Twitter": "Iraq has a consistent historical position on the Palestinian issue, and our position rejecting the so-called (normalization) with the Zionist entity will not change with the meeting of a group of prospective and hired men."
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 Baghdad: Huda Al-Azzawi
 
Yesterday, Sunday, the Supreme Judicial Council announced the issuance of arrest warrants against the participants in the conference (calling for normalization) with the Zionist entity, which was held in Erbil, while the Iraqi Bar Association demanded that the most severe penalties be imposed according to the law against them, in support of Iraq's consistent historical position on the Palestinian issue and the usurping entity. .
A statement by the council stated, "The Karkh First Investigation Court, based on information provided by the National Security Adviser, issued an arrest warrant against the so-called (Wissam Al-Hardan), following the role he played in calling for normalization with (Israel)."
The statement added: "An arrest warrant has also been issued against the person named (Mthal Al-Alusi) and an employee in the Ministry of Culture (Sahar Karim Al-Taie), for the same crime, and legal measures will be taken against the rest of the participants once their full names are known."
For his part, the head of the Iraqi Lawyers Syndicate, Diaa Al-Saadi, said in an interview with Al-Sabah: “The Iraqi Penal Code devoted a position on the Zionist entity, in support of historical positions that emphasized the rejection of the presence of the usurping entity,” noting that “the decision of the Supreme Judicial Council to issue arrest warrants. In the name of those who called for (normalization), it is completely in line with the constitution and the penal code, and the union supports the decision of the supreme judiciary in defense of Iraqi national history with regard to the position against the Zionist entity.”
The Iraqi Bar Association issued a statement calling for "prosecuting all those who call for normalization with the Zionist entity and inflicting retribution on him in accordance with the provisions of the Iraqi constitution rejecting racist movements, and the provisions of the penal code in force."
In turn, the director of the "Iraqi Center for Strategic Studies", Dr. Ghazi Faisal Hussein, confirmed in an interview with "Al-Sabah", that "the Erbil conference cannot express an Iraqi national consensus on a historically sensitive issue since 1948 until today, and successive governments have a clear position on the issue." Israel's occupation of Palestine.
He pointed out that "the Palestinian people did not get their right to build an independent state with national sovereignty, and they are still displaced and suffering from harsh conditions inside the occupied territories, so it is not possible to talk about the issue (normalization) with
Israel".
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Iraq with all the oil in the world and all it’s world allies is still a third world country. 
They are probably still 3 generations away from coming into a total international  unified togetherness. They have to rid themselves of this 1000 year religious cult ideology and join the 21st century. 
If they will RV the Dinar to whatever, I will forever be grateful and do not ever want to hear the word Iraq again….

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Iraq orders arrests of ministry official and tribal leader who urged Israel ties

Baghdad says it will arrest all 300 participants at event in Kurdistan that called for peace, once it can establish who they are; Sahar al-Ta’i, Wisam al-Hardan were main speakers

By AARON BOXERMAN26 Sep 2021, 12:45 pm  
Iraqis listen to Sahr al-Ta'i at the conference of peace and reclamation organized by US think-tank Center for Peace Communications in Erbil, the capital of northern Iraq's Kurdistan autonomous region, on September 24, 2021. (Safin Hamed/AFP)
Iraqis listen to Sahr al-Ta'i at the conference of peace and reclamation organized by US think-tank Center for Peace Communications in Erbil, the capital of northern Iraq's Kurdistan autonomous region, on September 24, 2021. (Safin Hamed/AFP)
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Iraqi authorities announced on Sunday that they had issued warrants for the arrest of two Iraqis who addressed a conference calling for their country to make peace with Israel. The authorities said they would arrest all 300-plus participants once they have established who they are.

The over 300 Iraqis gathered on Friday in Erbil, in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, to issue statements backing normalization with Israel. The conference was organized by the Center for Peace Communications, a New York-based group that advocates closer ties between Israel and the Arab world.

“Israel today, as you know, is a strong country and an inseparable part of the world and the United Nations. Iraq cannot neglect this fact and live in isolation from the world,” Sahar al-Ta’i, a senior official in Iraq’s Culture Ministry, told the attendees.

 

“This is the manner in which the United Arab Emirates looked toward future generations and the greater good, and entered into the Abraham Accords,” al-Ta’i said, referring to the recent normalization deals between Israel and four Arab states, including the Emirates.

On Sunday, a Baghdad court issued a warrant for al-Ta’i’s arrest, as well as for the detention of tribal leader Wisam al-Hardan. The latter, who also participated in the peace conference, called for reconciliation with Israel in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published on Friday.

 

Iraqi judicial authorities said that the remaining 300-odd participants would be arrested “as soon as their identities were determined.”

WhatsApp-Image-2021-09-25-at-12.37.10-AM
Wisam al-Hardan, a Sunni tribal leader from Anbar province in Iraq, calls for normalization with Israel at a conference in Erbil on Friday, September 24, 2021 (Credit: Center for Peace Communications)

Iraq has officially been at war with Israel since the Jewish state was founded in 1948. Iraqi soldiers have fought in three successive Arab wars against Israel.

 

In 1991, the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein fired dozens of Scud missiles at Tel Aviv and Haifa in an attempt to draw Israel into the Gulf War.

Screen-Shot-2021-09-24-at-6.03.38-PM-640
Dr. Sahar al-Ta’i, an Iraqi advocate of normalizing ties with Israel, speaks at a peace conference in Erbil, Kurdistan, on Friday, September 24, 2021. (Screenshot)

Iraqi law continues to issue strict penalties to citizens and residents who maintain contact with Israelis. For decades, association with “Zionist organizations” or promoting “Zionist values” was punishable by death. A 2010 amendment to the Iraqi criminal code limited the sentence to life in prison.

In his remarks on Friday, al-Hardan harshly criticized the laws against dealing with Israelis and Zionists, saying they violated the fundamental human rights of Iraqis.

“The so-called ‘anti-normalization laws’ in Iraq are morally repugnant, and have been repeatedly exposed by the international community as an assault on human rights and freedoms of expression and association,” said al-Hardan.

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Iraqis attend the conference of peace and reclamation organized by US think-tank Center for Peace Communications in Erbil, the capital of northern Iraq’s Kurdistan autonomous region, on September 24, 2021. (Safin Hamed/AFP)

Friday’s conference ignited a media firestorm in Iraq. Iraqi President Barham Salih denounced the conference as “illegal” and accused the attendees of seeking to stir up unrest.

“The recent meeting held to promote [normalization] does not represent the people and residents of Iraq. It represents only those who participated in it,” Salih said.

 

“Erbil must prevent these Zionist terrorist meetings. If not, the government must arrest all the participants,” said prominent Iraqi Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Following the controversy, al-Hardan appeared to attempt to withdraw his remarks. In an interview with the Kurdish Rudaw media outlet, al-Hardan said he had meant to call for the return of Iraq’s Jews, not normalization with Israel.

Screen-Shot-2021-09-24-at-5.58.19-PM-640
Hundreds of Iraqi activists gather in Erbil, Kurdistan to call for normalization with Israel, on Friday, September 24, 2021. (Screenshot)

The gathering was held in Iraqi Kurdistan, which enjoys a degree of autonomy under Iraq’s federal system. Kurdish officials have occasionally traveled to Israel, while Israelis have quietly visited Kurdish areas as well.

But Kurdistan’s government distanced itself from the event following the controversy, pleading for other Iraqi factions to deal with the matter “more calmly.”

“We were neither aware of the meeting nor of its contents. What was expressed there is not the opinion, policy or position of [Kurdistan],” Kurdish president Masoud Barazani said in a statement.

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INTERVIEW

Iraqi culture official: We will push for peace with Israel until our leaders act

Dr. Sahar Karim al-Ta’i, recently in running to become a minister, says she is ready to give it all for normalization: ‘We can live under repression or we can die with courage’

By LAZAR BERMAN 26 Sep 2021, 4:02 am  
Dr. Sahar al-Ta'i, an Iraqi advocate of normalizing ties with Israel, speaks at a peace conference in Erbil, Kurdistan, on Friday, September 24, 2021. (Screenshot)
Dr. Sahar al-Ta'i, an Iraqi advocate of normalizing ties with Israel, speaks at a peace conference in Erbil, Kurdistan, on Friday, September 24, 2021. (Screenshot)

 

It is both necessary and inevitable that Iraq recognize Israel and join the Abraham Accords, Sahar Karim al-Ta’i, a senior official in Iraq’s Ministry of Culture, has told The Times of Israel in an interview.

Ta’i publicly expressed her views on Friday at a conference in Iraqi Kurdistan, in front of hundreds of Iraqi activists and tribal leaders who publicly backed peace with Israel. During her speech, she discussed the expulsion of the country’s Jews, the vast majority of whom fled Iraq for Israel amid rising persecution following the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948.

“They looked to Iraq, and are still looking to her, waiting for the eyes of their proverbial mother to show affection for her lost children,” she said. “They are still waiting for the moment when Israel is recognized by Iraq as their country and that of their brethren who share the country with them.”

 

Over 300 Iraqi tribal leaders and activists congregated in Erbil on Friday to call for normalization with Israel. The conference, organized by the New York-based Center for Peace Communications, caused a media firestorm in Iraq, with the country’s president attacking the gathering as “illegal.”

“Erbil must prevent these Zionist terrorist meetings. If not, the government must arrest all the participants,” said prominent Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in response to Friday’s conference.

 

Ta’i, a Baghdad native who is currently senior research director at the Culture Ministry, was recently a prominent contender for a ministerial position. How did a veteran Iraqi official come to publicly back peace with Israel, a country with which Iraq is still officially at war?

It started with her parents, Ta’i told The Times of Israel just ahead of Friday’s conference. “I was raised in a family that instilled in us the principle of freedom of expression and freedom of conscience, that we should say what we feel and what we believe,” she said.

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Iraqis attend the conference of peace and reclamation organized by US think-tank Center for Peace Communications in Erbil, the capital of northern Iraq’s Kurdistan autonomous region, on September 24, 2021. (Safin Hamed/AFP)

Though she lost her father as a child, she remembers him talking about his close friend, a successful Jewish businessman named Sassoon, who was forced to flee Iraq.

 

The friend offered Ta’i’s father his property instead of letting the government confiscate it. But her father refused to take what his friend had worked hard to acquire.

“I don’t believe this is the end of our friendship,” her father told his friend, according to Ta’i.

Ta’i grew up in an Iraq dominated by notorious dictator Saddam Hussein, who turned the country into one of the world’s most unfree states. But Ta’i, who often listened to foreign radio broadcasts, found out about the Holocaust from a French Middle East radio service — at a time when the Nazi genocide was a taboo subject in Iraq.

“I’ll never forget the time I first heard about the crime of the Holocaust, it brought me to tears,” she said.

Studying philosophy in college, she was particularly influenced by Jewish-American philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn, who wrote the landmark work, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.”

She and her late brother, a victim of terrorism, also developed a deep love for classical Iraqi Jewish vocalists.

 

Now that the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan have agreed to normalize relations with Israel, Ta’i decided the time had come for Iraq as well.

“To pluck a ripe fruit, first you have to plant a seed, you have to water it, you have to wait for it to grow, then the flowers bloom, and then you know the fruit is coming,” she said. “The tree is big, and the flowers are already blooming, and soon we will pick the fruit of our labor.”

She also pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic as a catalyst for her public advocacy. “Coronavirus created an opportunity,” she said. “All of us are preoccupied with the same issues. Finally something happened that forced people to stop thinking about war, and start thinking about saving lives.”

Ta’i insisted that she was not afraid of any consequences for her personal safety.

“It is precisely because of these elements — terrorism, violence — that [it is] necessary to take a decisive step,” she stressed. “My family was not altogether relaxed about it, they worried about me, there are dangers to expressing these kinds of ideas, yet nonetheless this is my conviction and this is my decision.”

“We can live under the repression of terrorism or we can die with courage,” she said.

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Iraqis attend the conference of peace and reclamation organized by US think-tank Center for Peace Communications in Erbil, the capital of northern Iraq’s Kurdistan autonomous region, on September 24, 2021. (Safin Hamed/AFP)

Ta’i believes that her advocacy, and that of her colleagues in the Erbil conference, will ultimately influence Iraqi policy.

“Certainly if a leadership figure should see a civilian, a woman in a country like Iraq, communicating this message with this boldness in front of the world, then surely those who are stronger, living within fortified walls, should be even more bold,” she said.

“Particularly today when there is the model of the UAE taking this type of very bold decision, then why should they not embrace this model that is now available?”

 

And if Iraq’s leaders do not act, Ta’i is ready to keep the pressure on.

“We will bring it out through public activism, things like the statements you are about to see, and more things of that nature, until that result is achieved,” she said.

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US military official distances himself from Iraq event urging ties with Israel

Spokesman for US-led coalition against Islamic State says he had no knowledge of confab promoting normalization and has no affiliation with its participants

By JACOB MAGID Today, 4:53 am  
Iraqis attend a conference of peace and reclamation organized by US think tank Center for Peace Communications in Erbil, the capital of northern Iraq's Kurdistan autonomous region, on September 24, 2021. (Safin Hamed/AFP)
Iraqis attend a conference of peace and reclamation organized by US think tank Center for Peace Communications in Erbil, the capital of northern Iraq's Kurdistan autonomous region, on September 24, 2021. (Safin Hamed/AFP)

 

NEW YORK — A spokesman for the US-led coalition to defeat the Islamic State on Sunday distanced himself from a recent event in Iraq where some 300 prominent local officials issued statements backing normalization with Israel.

“[The International Coalition for Operation Inherent Resolve] has just been made aware of announcements by both the GoI & the KRG relating to the recent conference held in Erbil to discuss the normalization of ties with Israel. [The Global Coalition] had no prior knowledge of the event, nor do we have any affiliation with its participants,” tweeted Col. Wayne Marotto.

“[The Coalition] remains committed to supporting the [government of Iraq’s] enduring defeat daesh mission through advising, assisting and enabling the [Iraqi Security Forces’s] at the operational level,” he added, referring to the Islamic State.

 

The tweets were the first public comment by a US official regarding Friday’s meeting and appeared to be an attempt to assuage anger in the Iraqi government, which quickly condemned the Erbil confab as not representative of Baghdad’s views on the matter.

The Iraqi government is a key ally of the coalition to

 

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The Biden administration has been accused by Republicans of not building off the progress initiated by the Trump administration, which brokered normalization agreements between Israel and four Arab countries.

The White House has insisted that strengthening and expanding the Abraham Accords are indeed a priority, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosted an event earlier this month marking the one-year anniversary of the normalization agreements’ signing with counterparts from Israel, the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco.

 

The State Department did not immediately respond to a query as to whether Marotto’s statement represented the official view of the Biden administration on the Erbil event.

At Friday’s conference in the Kurdistan region, over 300 Iraqi participants called on their country’s leaders to end the state of war with Israel and join the Abraham Accords.

The gathering included Sunni and Shiite Muslim tribal leaders, social activists and former military commanders, and was organized by the Center for Peace Communications, a New York-based nonprofit that seeks to advance closer ties between Israelis and the Arab world.

Friday’s conference ignited a media firestorm in Iraq. President Barham Salih denounced the conference as “illegal” and accused the attendees of seeking to stir up unrest.

Iraqi authorities announced on Sunday that they had issued warrants for the arrest of two citizens who addressed the conference, adding that they would arrest all 300-plus participants once they establish their identities.

 

The gathering was held in Iraqi Kurdistan, which enjoys a degree of autonomy under Iraq’s federal system. Kurdish officials have occasionally traveled to Israel, while Israelis have quietly visited Kurdish areas as well.

But Kurdistan’s government also distanced itself from the event following the controversy, pleading for other Iraqi factions to deal with the matter “more calmly.”

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  •  Time: 09/28/2021 12:05:24
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Erbil reveals new details about the normalization conference
  
{Political: Al Furat News} The Governor of Erbil, Omid Khoshnaw, announced today, Tuesday, new details about the gathering that called for normalization between Iraq and Israel last Friday.

Khoshnaw said in a press conference held today, that the meeting that took place in Erbil last Friday has nothing to do with the regional government or the local government.

He explained that on one occasion the organizers of the gathering submitted a request to us, but we rejected it due to the outbreak of the Corona virus, and on the second time they submitted the same request and submitted it to the Ministry of Interior and it was also rejected. It is a "workshop" and they held it in a hotel in Erbil under the title "Freedom and Coexistence" among the components.

Khoshnaw stressed that the assembly touched on topics contrary to the policy of the regional government and the federal government, taking advantage of the space of freedom enjoyed by civil society organizations in their work in the region.

He went on to say that a number of participants in the gathering issue daily clarifications about their involvement in participating in it and say that they did not come to it for the sake of the issue of normalization.

The governor of Erbil pointed out that what worries us is that this issue has become a media and propaganda material for elections in other Iraqi cities, adding that some political parties have exploited it and claim that the gathering was held under the sponsorship of the region, although no one from the government and the people of Kurdistan did not attend this gathering, not even any. Kurd did not attend either.

He noted that some of the participants are Arabs residing in Erbil, but the vast majority of participants are from other regions of Iraq who came to the region to attend the gathering, and others from outside Iraq.

Khoshnaw went on to say that the federal government has issued arrest warrants against some of the participants, and the procedures should take its course.

The head of the local government said, "It is true that they spoke in Erbil, but the federal government should arrest them in Iraqi cities because they are there."

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