Iraqi speakers who called for peace with Israel risk arrest

Iraqi speakers who called for peace with Israel risk arrest
An Iraqi court has issued arrest warrants for three people whose names have been publicly disclosed. The country’s Supreme Judicial Council announced on Sunday that their country is making peace with Israel through the Abraham Accords.

Among the arrests issued by the First Investigation Court in Karkh against the head of the Sons of Iraq movement, Wissam Al-Hardan, and an employee of the Ministry of Culture, Sahar Karim Al-Taie.

They spoke at a conference in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, with about 300 Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites, to strengthen ties with Israel. An arrest warrant has been issued for former Iraqi parliamentarian Mithal Al-Alusi, who is also believed to have links to the event hosted by the US-based Peace Communications Center in Erbil.

Men carry Kurdish flags in Nowruz marking the first day of spring near Dohuk in Iraqi Kurdistan on March 20. (Source: ARI JALAL / REUTERS)

The court warned that it would arrest all participants once their identities were known to the authorities.

Israel has strong informal relations with the Kurdish region of Iraq, but these relations have not extended to the rest of the country.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi officially rejected Erbil’s call for peace with Israel and expressed his public support for the Palestinians.

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Shafak, the Iraqi news website, confirmed that Hardan withdrew his statements in favor of normalization.

In an opinion article published Friday in The Wall Street JournalHardan referred to the meeting in Erbil and called for peace with Israel.

More than 300 of my fellow Iraqis from Baghdad, Mosul, Anbar, Babil, Salah al-Din and Diyala joined me on Friday in this northern city, as we made a public request to Iraq to establish relations with Israel and its people through… Abraham Agreements,” Hardan wrote.

We will seek personal conversations with the Israelis. No power, foreign or domestic, has the right to prevent us from making progress. Iraq’s anti-normalization laws, which criminalize civil involvement between Arabs and Israelis, are morally repugnant. “It is the explanation.

Hardan also referred to the “mass displacement and dispossession of the majority of the Jewish population in Iraq, a community dating back 2,600 years, in the mid-20th century.

He wrote: “Through their forced emigration, Iraq effectively cut off one of its main artery. However, we look forward to knowing that most of the Iraqi Jews were able to rebuild their lives and pass on their traditions to their children and grandchildren in Israel.”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted his support for the conference and normalization of relations between Israel and Iraq: “This is an invitation that comes from below and not from above, from the people and not from the government.”

Bennett added: “The State of Israel is extending its hand to you in peace.”

Writing about the event in Erbil, Bennett wrote of the comments coming out of the conference about “recognition of the historical injustices suffered by the Jews of Iraq.”

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The former US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, urged the Biden administration to “take advantage of this opportunity.” “The United States can play a vital role in bringing Iraq into the cycle of peace,” he wrote on Twitter.

Over the weekend, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid wrote: “Since the day this government took office, our goal has been to expand the Abraham Accords. The event in Iraq brings hope to places we had never thought of before.

He added, “We and Iraq share a common history and roots in the Jewish community, and if anyone contacts us, we will do our best to return.”

Jpost Post staff contributed to this report.

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