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Normalization with Israel has no place in Tunisia’s lexicon: President

Tunisia’s President Kais Saied gives a speech at the government’s swearing-in ceremony at the Carthage Palace outside the capital Tunis, Tunisia February 27, 2020. (Photo via Reuters)

Tunisian President Kais Saied says his country will never normalize relations with Israel as the term does not even exist in Tunisia’s lexicon.

Addressing new Tunisian ambassadors to Arab and non-Arab countries on Tuesday, Saied reiterated that Palestine must return to the Palestinians.  

“Although the Palestinian state has ambassadors … Do not forget the Palestinian right; the legitimate right. The Palestinian issue is the central issue of the whole nation, and to those who talk about normalization, I say that this term does not exist at all,” he said.

Saeid added that Palestinians must regain their rights throughout the occupied territories, and that an independent sovereign Palestinian state with al-Quds as its capital must be established.

Earlier this month, the President of the Algerian National Construction Movement, Abdelkader Bengrina, warned that Algiers should “keep a watchful eye” on Tunis.

This comes after several visits were made to the country by Israeli officials that came in line with normalization efforts.

Earlier on Tuesday, Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf pointed out that the Tunisian envoy to Algeria had categorically refuted any normalization step by Tunisian authorities.

According to the Tunisian parliament, the Committee on Rights and Freedoms had already started looking into introducing a draft law, urging the criminalization of normalization with Israel.

The Committee presented “a preliminary reading regarding the importance of the draft law for the Tunisian people and its unconditional support for the just Palestinian cause.”

In June 2022, the Tunisian Foreign Ministry refuted reports about back-channel diplomatic talks between the North African country and Israel, describing them as false.

The ministry in a statement said some websites affiliated with the Israeli regime have been spreading these rumors in an attempt to harm the image of Tunisia and its unyielding pro-Palestine position.

The statement declared that Tunisia was not interested in establishing diplomatic relations with Israel, stressing that the country - on the official and popular level and as stated by President Saied - will always support the Palestinian people in their struggle until their legitimate rights are restored, foremost of which is the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with al-Quds as its capital.

Under the so-called Abraham Accords, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco signed US-brokered normalization deals with the Israeli regime in late 2020. Palestinians have denounced the deals as a “betrayal” of their cause.

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