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Iraqi Parliament puts a Ban on Display of Israeli Flag and ‘Zionist’ Symbols Across the Country

Speaker of the Iraqi parliament announced the raising of Israeli flag in the country as a punishable offence that would be dealt with criminal prosecution

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Israeli Flag
An Israeli Flag Flies on a hill near Bethlehem. VOA.

Erbil, November 1: Following the display of Israeli flag in pro-independence Kurdish rallies, the Iraqi parliament, known as the Council of Representatives, voted Tuesday to ban the Israeli flag, describing it as a Zionist symbol.

“A dangerous phenomenon, representing the hoisting of the Zionist entity flag during public rallies in front of the media, has recently appeared that breaks the basic constitutional principles of Iraq,” Salim al-Jabouri, Speaker of the Iraqi parliament, said while announcing the law that vows criminal prosecution against those who raise the Israeli flag in the country.

“This is an exercise that damages the reputation of Iraq and its nation and the law punishes it by the maximum penalties,” the speaker added.

The law was introduced by the parliamentary bloc of the Shiite Supreme Islamic Council and was unanimously approved by other members of the Iraqi parliament. It ordered law enforcement to pursue criminal charges against “those who promote Zionist symbols in public rallies in any form, including the hoisting of the Zionist flag.”

Israeli flags were appearing frequently during Kurdish rallies in the run up to the Kurdish referendum vote that was held Sept. 25, with 92 percent voting in favor of secession from the central government in Baghdad.

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has said their hoisting at the gatherings was “spontaneous” and did not reflect the position of the government, which cannot formally establish relations with Israel due to the policy of the government in Baghdad that does not recognize Israel as a state.

Israeli Flag
Salim al-Jabouri, Speaker of the Iraqi parliament announced the display of Israeli flag as a criminal offence. VOA.

‘A second Israel’

Some officials of the central government in Baghdad and elements in the neighboring Turkey and Iran have accused Kurdish leaders of secret ties with what they termed “Zionists” and have described the Kurdish bid for independence an orchestrated plan to establish “the second Israel in Middle East.”

Israel is denying any involvement in the controversial referendum, but it is the only country that has openly supported the Kurdish aspirations for independence.

“The Kurds demonstrate national maturity and international maturity,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier this month. “We have very great sympathy for their desires and the world needs to concern itself with their safety and with their future.”

Other countries — including the United States and EU members which consider the Kurdistan Regional Government a reliable ally, particularly in the current fight against IS — have publicly opposed the Kurdish referendum, arguing that the move diverts attention from the more crucial fight against the Islamic State in the region.

U.S. officials say the cooperation between the Kurdish forces known as Peshmerga and the Iraqi army played a critical role in removing the Islamic State fighters from Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul. They say the Kurdish vote for independence has disrupted that cooperation and resulted in clashes between the region and the central government, particularly on the fate of territories disputed between both sides. (VOA)

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Elon Musk in Talks with Netanyahu for Tunnels in Israel

If the plans work out as intended, Musk’s tunneling firm — Boring Co. — could help in the development of Israel’s tangled transportation network

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Tesla CEO Elon musk, board
Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (VOA)

Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, Tesla and Neuralink, is in negotiations with Israels government to build tunnels in the country, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I met a man that they call Elon Musk-have you heard of him? A real genius,” the New York-based The Algemeiner journal quoted Netanyahu as saying at a campaign event last week when asked about Israel’s transportation infrastructure.

“Right now, we’re in conversation with him to see if we can tunnel the State of Israel.”

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX. Wikimedia

Netanyahu said he and Musk ate breakfast at the Prime Minister’s residence, where the billionaire entrepreneur mentioned tunneling, The Algemeiner reported on Sunday.

According to the state comptroller, ineffective public transportation could cost the Israeli economy $6.9 billion annually by 2030, if dire changes are not implemented.

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The billionaire entrepreneur visited Israel in March 2018 and has been in negotiations with Israel’s government to build tunnels.

If the plans work out as intended, Musk’s tunneling firm — Boring Co. — could help in the development of Israel’s tangled transportation network, the report said. (IANS)