The Iraqi parliament has officially passed a bill criminalizing any kind of relationship, including business relations, with Israel. The law stipulates that Iraqi citizens and companies cannot visit Israel, as well as establish joint business relations. It certainly poses a risk for companies working in Iraq and has violated the law.
The law, which received approval from 275 of the total 329 members of parliament, stipulates that anyone found violating the law will be punished with death or life imprisonment. A parliamentary statement called the law “a true reflection of the will of the people.” An Iraqi Shia lawmaker Hassan Salim argued that passing the law was not only a victory for the Iraqi people, but also for the heroes in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Although it is not clear how the law will be implemented considering that Iraq itself has never recognized the existence and established diplomatic relations with the state of Israel since its establishment in 1948, however, the law takes this further, criminalizing any attempt to establish ties with Israel.
The law was proposed by Shitee cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, whose party won the most seats in Iraq’s parliamentary elections in October last year. They also called on Iraqis to take to the streets to celebrate the passage of this law which they considered a “huge achievement.” Hundreds of people later gathered in the center of Baghdad while chanting anti-Israel slogans.
The United States said it was deeply disturbed by this Iraqi-issued law. In a statement, State Department Ned Price said that in addition to jeopardizing freedom of expression and promoting an anti-Semitic environment, this law is seen as inversely proportional to the progress made by Iraq’s neighboring countries that have built bridges and normalized relations with Israel and create opportunities for people across the region.