Iraqis may be softening towards Israel

Here is more evidence that Iraqis are becoming less hostile to Israel. Palestinian involvement in bombings and support for Saddam Hussein, Kurdish sympathy for Israel and the Iranian threat, are all factors. Report in al-Monitor:

Waving the Kurdish and Israeli flags (Ala al-Marjani/Reuters)

BAGHDAD — Some Iraqis are calling for closer relations
with Israel, feeling a common bond of past persecution and a desire for
peace and stability. Many people might find two factors cited in this
change quite surprising: Iraqis’ guilt, and some resentment of
Palestinians.

“There is a dramatic shift that has changed [Iraqi]
public opinion [toward Israel] as a result of the Palestinians’
involvement in supporting the [late Iraqi] dictator Saddam Hussein and
thus getting involved in terrorist operations,” writer and political
analyst Ali Mared al-Asadi told Al-Monitor recently by phone.

“Most Shiites in Iraq have a sense of guilt because they did not
support the peaceful Jewish community with whom they lived for hundreds
of years in peace and harmony in one homeland, but who were persecuted
and displaced during the monarchy [1958-1963] and the Baathist regime [1968-2003] eras.”

Much of the fanaticism and hostility toward Israel appears to have
declined in central and southern Baghdad, where the majority of people
are Shiite.

On Sept. 9, Asadi
wrote, “It is not in the interest of Shiites to antagonize Israel.
Shiites and Jews ought to reach understandings based on common
humanitarian grounds that guarantee peaceful coexistence in the Middle
East.”

Asadi told Al-Monitor by phone, “If we put the influence of Iran
and the remnants of the Baathist culture aside, Iraq would have no
excuse to keep officially antagonizing Israel, especially since the
majority of the Arab states, [even] the Palestinian state itself, hold
relations with Tel Aviv.” Asadi apparently was referring to Arab states
having contacts or other ties with Tel Aviv, because most Arab states do
not formally recognize Israel..

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