Iraqi ex-envoy Hamad al-Sharifi visits Israel

Peace between Israel and the Arab world will come not through
governments, but rather through people-to-people contact, Hamad
al-Sharifi, a former Iraqi diplomat, said on a visit to Israel. The Jerusalem Post reports (with thanks: Lily, Pablo):

Hamad al-Sharifi: no more secret visits

Sharifi, in Israel as a guest of the Foreign Ministry for five days, told The Jerusalem Post
from the Knesset that Israel was making a mistake in allowing secret
visits by Arab officials. Instead, he said, these visits should take
place in broad daylight.

“I am saying this to everyone I meet,
‘Don’t accept secret visits, secret visits won’t achieve anything,’” he
said.  “In order for the barriers to be broken, the visits should be
done in full public view.”

The Baghdad-born Sharifi has served in the Iraqi Embassy in
Kuwait, as the deputy chief of mission at Iraq’s embassy in Jordan, and
as an adviser after the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq’s Defense
Ministry. He currently lives in London, and heads an organization called
the Liberal Muslims.

Sharifi arrived on Sunday, and went
immediately to a meeting with Iraqi-born Jews in Or Yehuda. “I want to
give an example that Iraq and Israel can achieve peace through people,
and the bridge to that peace is the Iraqi Jewish community here,” he

The initiative for the visit came from Hasan Kaabiah, the
Foreign Ministry’s spokesman for the Arabic press. The idea, he said,
is to bring influential voices from the Arab world to Israel to see the
country firsthand, and “not through the lens of Al Jazeera.”

month Kaabiah brought a group of journalists from Syria, Lebanon and
Iraq, and in the coming months he hopes to bring a delegation of
Jordanian university students.

Read article in full

Haaretz article 

Posts about Iraqi politician Mithal al-Alusi

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