Iraqi lawmaker punished for visiting Israel

Sunday, September 14, 2008 |  Israel Today Staff

Iraqi Member of Parliament Mithal Alusi made his second visit to Israel last week, causing an uproar in Baghdad and leading to punitive measures.

The Associated Press confirmed that Alusi made a surprise appearance at a conference on Islamic terrorism in the Israeli coastal town of Herliya.

The conference reportedly exploded in applause when Alusi said that "in Israel, there is no occupation," and openly advocated a joint intelligence network between Iraq, Israel and the US.

Alusi first visited Israel in 2004 to attend a similar counter-terrorism conference. His two sons were murdered by members of Iraq's Baath Party for what was termed an act of treachery.

Word of Alusi's latest reported trip to the Jewish state met with similar outrage.

His colleagues in the Iraqi parliament said that Alusi had betrayed Iraq, provoked Arab sensibilities and possibly sabotaged efforts to forge stronger ties with Iran.

As punishment, Alusi's parliamentary immunity was revoked, he is no longer permitted to travel outside Iraq, and he cannot participate in sessions of parliament.

The reaction provides further evidence of just how far the Middle East remains from the peaceful coexistence Western power brokers hope to produce by extracting Israeli concessions.

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