Violations of the anti-Israel legislation might result in life imprisonment or perhaps the death penalty.
Iraq’s parliament has enacted a bill making normalizing relations with Israel a criminal punishable by death or life imprisonment.
The bill, titled “Criminalizing Normalisation and Establishment of Relations with the Zionist Entity,” was passed by 275 members in Iraq’s 329-seat parliament on Thursday.
The measure was “a real expression of the will of the people,” according to the parliament.
Iraq’s parliament has been unable to meet on any matter other than the legislation forbidding links with Israel, including electing a new president and creating its own cabinet, prolonging the country’s political impasse.
Iraq has never recognized Israel, and Iraqi residents and businesses are unable to go to Israel because the two countries do not have official relations.
According to a report provided by the Iraqi News Agency, the new legislation also contains risks for enterprises functioning in Iraq who are found to be in breach of the law, which applies to all Iraqis, state and independent institutions, as well as foreigners working in the nation (INA).
The bill was introduced by Muqtada al-Sadr, an important Shia cleric whose party, which opposes tight relations with the US and Israel, won more seats in the Iraqi parliament in last October’s elections.
Iraqis should walk to the streets to celebrate the “great success” of the legislation’s passage, according to the priest.
Hundreds more people gathered in Baghdad’s central district afterwards, screaming anti-Israel chants. Following a tweet from al-Sadr, who asked his supporters to give prayers of appreciation and come out on the streets to celebrate, the crowd gathered in Tahrir Square.
Al-legislators Sadr’s claimed the measure was designed to counter assertions by Iranian-backed opposition parties that al-Sadr was forming alliances with Sunni and Kurds with hidden links to Israel.
Subscribe to the Al Jazeera Weekly Newsletter by filling out the form below.
The most recent news from across the globe.
Timely. Accurate. Fair.
Iran launched a dozen ballistic missiles toward Irbil, Iraq’s Kurdish-controlled north, earlier this year, claiming to be targeting an Israeli spy station. The attack severely destroyed the residence of Baz Karim, the CEO of the oil giant KAR GROUP.
KAR has already been accused of surreptitiously supplying oil to Israel.
READ ALSO: Israel slams Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for claiming Hitler had Jewish ancestors.
The new legislation also comes months after a divisive meeting in Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region demanding normalization of relations with Israel. The summit, which took place in September, followed in the footsteps of other Arab countries that signed the Abraham Accords on normalizing ties, which were negotiated by the United States.
Some Gulf governments, such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, are strengthening ties with Israel in response to shared fears about Iran’s danger to the area.
Saudi Arabia, a major US ally, has made the Palestinian desire for statehood on land occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war a condition of any future normalization with Israel.