The Tunisian Parliament is studying a proposed law to criminalize normalization with Israel 

The proposed law refers to unconditional support for the Palestinian cause and backs President Kais Saied’s view that normalization is a betrayal

The Human Rights and Freedoms Committee in the Tunisian Parliament began examining the proposed law on Monday, which was one of the prominent issues raised by President Kais Saied during his election campaign, where he considered normalization as treason. The committee presented a preliminary reading regarding the importance of the law project for the Tunisian people and its unconditional support for the just Palestinian cause, according to a statement published by the parliament on its official Facebook page.

In August 2022, the Tunisian Ministry of Trade and Export Development emphasized its commitment to the Arab boycott of Israel according to the principles of the Arab League, in response to reports and news websites suggesting that Tunisia was engaging in trade exchanges with Israel. Previous Tunisian parliaments during the past decade rejected the enactment of a law criminalizing normalization and including it in the 2014 constitution, which made them vulnerable to criticism from nationalist and leftist parties and currents, while the Islamist movement justified its position based on Tunisia’s interests abroad.

In the 2019 presidential elections, Saied raised the issue of criminalizing normalization and considering it as treason, which strengthened his position against his former presidential rival Nabil Karoui, especially with the affirmation of nationalist and Nasserist parties’ support for him. Tunisia officially began the organized boycott of Israel through the Arab League after the 1948 war, while the implementation of this boycott varied from one country to another. However, authorities sometimes face criticism for allowing some Israelis to attend the West Bank pilgrimage in May of each year, using passports from European countries.

The incident of an Israeli journalist filming an investigation and broadcasting it on an Israeli channel from Habib Bourguiba Avenue after the assassination of a leader in the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, and an expert in drones, Mohamed Al-Zawari, sparked a wide controversy about the ability of Israelis to enter Tunisian territory and film freely. Algerian reports have repeatedly spoken about the presence of the Israeli Mossad in Tunisia and its involvement in espionage attempts in Algeria.

The pace of normalization of relations with Israel has accelerated in several Arab countries over the past three years under the “Abraham Accords.” On September 15, 2020, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain signed the normalization agreements, which the White House called the “Abraham Accords,” and later Morocco and Sudan joined them.

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