Iraq Government Issues Arrest Warrants For Iraqi Speakers Who Championed Peace With Israel
Burning Israeli flag
Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP via Getty Images

As the number of Arab nations in the Middle East deciding to make peace with Israel has escalated due to the Trump administration’s efforts, the Iraqi government is showing they have no desire for peace, issuing warrants for the arrest of arresting two speakers at a conference who urged Iraq to make peace with the Jewish state and threatening the roughly 300 participants at the conference.

Iraqi President Barham Salih called the conference “illegal,” adding, “The recent meeting held to promote [normalization] does not represent the people and residents of Iraq. It represents only those who participated in it.”

On Friday, Sahar al-Ta’i, the head of research for the Iraqi Ministry of Culture, stated, as translated by MEMRI:

We will continue to stand by the victims of the Holocaust, by the victims of 9/11, by the victims of the Nice (terror attack), by the victims of the Camp Speicher (massacre), by the victims of the Karrada (bombing) and by the victims everywhere in the world. Based on our rejection of all forms of terrorism, all manifestations of violence, and the policy of exclusion and marginalization on racial or religious grounds, we reach out for peace with all the countries of the world. …

As you know, Israel today is a powerful country. It constitutes an inseparable part of the United Nations and the world. Iraq must not neglect this fact. It must not live in seclusion from the world and it must not be the minion of anybody. Iraq was the cradle of civilizations and humanity and it will continue to be the world’s beating heart. As such, Iraq today must change its policy. For the sake of peace in the region, it has become imperative to recognize Israel as a friendly country, especially since about half a million Israelis are of Iraqi origins. … They are still waiting for the moment when Israel is recognized as their country and thew country of their compatriots.

Referencing the fact that the first Jew, Abraham, hailed from territory that is now modern-day Iraq, she continued, “The historical truth that is clear as day to everybody in the world is that the origins and roots of all the Jews in the world are in Iraq. … We want peace with ourselves. We want peace with Israel. … It is our duty to turn words into deeds.”

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,” The Times of Israel reported, adding, “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.”

Al-Hardan wrote, “We have a choice: tyranny and chaos, or legality, decency, peace and progress. The answer is clear. Just as we demand that Iraq achieve federalism domestically, we demand that Iraq join the Abraham Accords internationally. We call for full diplomatic relations with Israel and a new policy of mutual development and prosperity.”

Hardan stated on Friday of the Iraqi laws that harshly punish Iraqis who associate with Israel, “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.”

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