Leading Tunisian lawmaker argues normalized ties with Israel in nation’s interests

by WorldTribune Staff, May 13, 2018

Normalizing relations with Israel would be in Tunisia’s best interests, the head of the Liberal Tunisian Party said during a televised debate with a parliament member.

Mounir Baator

Tunisia would benefit economically and in international relations if it were to normalize ties with Israel, Mounir Baator said in the debate with parliament member Ammar Amroussia.

Tunisia, like most Arab countries, does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

Baator highlighted during the debate a recent parliamentary session during which Amroussia had ripped up an Israeli flag and demanded a law criminalizing relations with Israel.

“How was Israel affected by the tearing up of its flag?” Baator asked. “It was a meaningless gesture with no impact. He took an A4 sheet of paper and tore it up. It was nothing but a show. Why didn’t you tear up the American flag?”

“Whether or not you tear up the flag of the Zionist entity… By the way, it is called the State of Israel, not the Zionist entity. The State of Israel exists, it is a member in the United Nations and in all the international organizations, and its flag flies everywhere. So whether or not you tear it up is immaterial to Israel,” Baator added.

Baator rejected TV host Walid Zribi’s suggestion that normalization of ties with Israel constituted treason.

“We are calling for normal economic relations with all countries. We believe that enmity toward Israel and love of the Palestinian cause are not Tunisia’s real problems today. Tunisia’s problems are social and economic,” Baator said.

The debate, which aired on Tunisna TV on April 19, was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

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