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May 27, 2022 9:27 am

US Condemns Iraqi Law Criminalizing Contact With Israel

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State Department spokesman Ned Price. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/Reuters

The United States has strongly condemned the passage of new legislation in Iraq that criminalizes contact between Iraqi citizens and Israelis on pain of death.

The bill, titled “Criminalizing Normalization and Establishment of Relations with the Zionist Entity,” was passed by the Iraqi parliament on Thursday. Its provisions outlaw “contact and communication of any kind and means with the occupying Zionist entity, its nationals, and representatives, whether individuals or institutions or organizations, for any reason.” Also prohibited are any “financial or moral assistance” to the State of Israel or Israeli organizations, alongside the “promotion of any ideas, ideologies, principles, or Israeli or Zionist conduct, in any form.” Those found guilty of breaching the law would face “execution or lifelong imprisonment.”

In a statement issued following the bill’s passage, the US State Department reiterated its support for Israel and urged other countries in the region to forge peace agreements with the Jewish state.

“The United States is deeply disturbed by the Iraqi Parliament’s passage of legislation that criminalizes normalization of relations with Israel,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. “In addition to jeopardizing freedom of expression and promoting an environment of antisemitism, this legislation stands in stark contrast to progress Iraq’s neighbors have made by building bridges and normalizing relations with Israel, creating new opportunities for people throughout the region.”

Price emphasized that “the United States will continue to be a strong and unwavering partner in supporting Israel, including as it expands ties with its neighbors in the pursuit of greater peace and prosperity for all.”

Four Arab nations — the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco — have arrived at peace deals with Israel during the last two years, while Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority all have long-standing diplomatic agreements with Israel.

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