In a statement issued on Saturday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmad al-Sahaf said, “We reaffirm that Iraq’s position on the Palestinian issue is the same as our principled and historical position of rejecting the Israeli occupation of the Arab land.”
The statement added that Iraq stands firm in its “rejection of all forms of normalization with this entity,” adding that the Arab state remains “committed to the principle of boycott” of the regime.
The clarification came after Fareed Yasseen, the Iraqi ambassador to the United States, was quoted in media reports as hinting that there was potential for relations between Baghdad and Tel Aviv.
The reports surfaced after a video clip was released on social media earlier this week, showing him speaking with state-run Al-Iraqiya TV.
The envoy said in the video, “There are objective reasons that call for the establishment of relations between Iraq and Israel, including the presence of a significant Iraqi community in Israel,” he said in the video released this week.
He, however, said the objective factors are not enough to establish ties with the Israeli regime because there are “moral and legal reasons which Iraqis comply with.”
In response to the reports, the Iraqi Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee called on the Foreign Ministry to “ensure the statements of its employees and representatives in the Iraqi diplomatic missions are in line with the foreign policy of the government.”
The Foreign Ministry statement criticized certain media outlets — which he did not name — for “inappropriately” quoting Yasseen.
The statement further said, “Countries and media give special importance to the Palestine issue, which is a key focus of conferences and meetings attended by our representatives and delegations abroad,” but certain statements of the officials appear out of context in reports.
Iraq’s position on the Palestinian cause has been outspokenly outlined by officials of various standing across the country’s political spectrum.
Over the past years, many key Arab states have dropped their traditional positions as supporters of the Palestinian cause, giving Israeli officials entrée into their countries or even allowing their own officials to travel to the Israeli-occupied territories.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Riyadh’s arch-allies in the Persian Gulf region, are among the Arab countries giving rise to most rumors and reports about Arab rapprochement with Tel Aviv.
Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are also among the states, which have reportedly given the green light to a United States-devised controversial plan for the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
Bahrain even recently hosted a summit aimed at unveiling the economic aspect of the scheme, which Washington has hailed as “the deal of the century.”
The Bahraini regime’s move sparked angry protests in Iraq, where anti-Israel sentiments run high. Scores of the protesters stormed the Bahraini embassy in Baghdad on June 27 as the US-led event was underway in Manama and pulled down the Arab kingdom’s flag in a show of outrage.