An extraordinary event in Iraq: About 300 Shiite and Sunni leaders met this weekend at a conference in the city of Arbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region, and called on their country to join the initiative of the Abrahamic Accords and establish full diplomatic relations with Israel.
Participants stated that they would meet with Israelis, despite the law prohibiting ties between Iraqis and Israelis. Sahar al.Tai, who heads the research department at the Iraqi Ministry of Culture, read the summary statement, which said: “Just as these agreements led to diplomatic relations with Israel, we also want normal relations with it. No force, local or foreign, has the right to prevent this call.” .
However, the Iraqi government stated that the conference was illegal and “does not represent public opinion among the residents of the cities whose participants claimed to speak on their behalf.” President Braham Saleh, who is Kurdish, also joined the condemnation. While Shiite leader Mukatada Sadr called for “banning all participants”.
The organizer of the conference, Joseph Braude, a Jew from Iraq who heads the US.based Peace Communication Center, said the participants were tribal leaders, military personnel, intellectuals and writers, who came from six districts: Baghdad, Mosul, Salhadin, Al.Inbar, Diala and Babylon. .
The gatherers also heard on video the words of Hemi Peres, who heads the Peres Center for Peace. Wissam al.Hardan, who led the Sunni militias that supported the United States in its war on al.Qaeda, said: “We demand normalization and face.to.face ties between peoples and nations. We must choose between chaos and tyranny and law and order, peace and progress. ”
General Amir al.Jaburi, who took part in the 1989 coup attempt against Saddam Hussein, said: “All of Abraham’s descendants have a responsibility to complete the path he paved for interfaith peace.”
Sheikh Rissan al.Halbussi of al.Inbar province noted that “normalization with Israel, as the emirates and Morocco did, is now a necessity of reality.”
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett responded to the conference and said yesterday: “Hundreds of Iraqi, Sunni and Shiite public figures have gathered to call for peace with Israel. This is a call that comes from below and not from above. From the people and not the government. Peace be upon you. ”