A recent meeting between a Libyan minister and Israeli officials over the possibility of a ‘normalisation’ of relations continues to draw international media attention.
The House of Representatives (Libya’s Parliament) announced the formation of an investigation committee into Libya’s Welsh-born Foreign Minister, Najla El Mangoush’s meeting with her Israeli counterpart, reports The Arab Weekly and agencies, September 6.
The now dismissed Mangoush met with Israeli Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen in Rome on August 26, a move that sparked backlash due to Libya’s refusal to recognise Israel as a legitimate state.
Mrs Mangoush was sacked (on August 28) by The Government of National Unity’s (GNU) Interim Prime Minister, Abdulhamid Dbeibah, following fiery protests that took place in Tripoli on the days following the meeting.
The GNU is Libya’s Tripoli based government, backed by the government of Palestine amongst four other countries’ governments, Pakistan, Algeria, Qatar and Turkey.
After an emergency session called by the house speaker, Aguila Saleh, it was announced during the parliamentary session that there would be a full investigation into the August 26 meeting.
A House of Representatives spokesman stated, “The representatives agreed to amend the law criminalising normalisation with Israel.”
Law No.62 was passed in 1975, criminalising all forms of recognition and normalisation with Israel. The representatives discussed imposing tougher sanctions on those who breach this legislation.
The announcement of the GNU comes after the Libyan attorney general announced, earlier this month, the formation of a fact-finding committee into the encounter between Mangoush and Cohen.
Libyans are staunch in their support for the Palestinian cause and have denounced Israel as a pariah state. The country has long been a strong supporter of Palestine, particularly under the leadership of strongman Muammar Gaddafi, toppled in 2011 by a NATO-backed uprising.
A diplomatic source in Italy noted that Libya and Israel’s foreign ministries had been in talks for a long period of time before last month’s meeting in Rome, a meeting that did not include Italy. It is believed that the two Foreign Ministers asked Italy to help in providing a location for the encounter.
THE ARAB WEEKLY