by: Ilse Strauss
Tuesday, 20 April 2021 | Khartoum yesterday took another step to cement its budding relationship with Jerusalem by officially scrapping a decades-old law boycotting Israel.
The decision to repeal the 63-year-old bill that enshrined the criminalization of diplomatic and economic ties with the Jewish state into law was taken during a joint meeting between Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council and cabinet. It is lauded as an upshot of the Abraham Accords brokered by former President Donald Trump in which Sudan was the third Arab nation to normalize ties with Israel.
Passed in 1958, the so-called Israel boycott law officially barred Sudanese citizens from establishing relations with Israel, prohibiting business dealings with Israelis, trading with Israeli companies or companies with Israeli interests and outlawed the direct or indirect import of Israeli products. Violators faced a hefty fine and up to 10 years in prison.
However, the repeal of the Israel boycott law goes beyond new diplomatic, trade and economic opportunities. For the first time in 63 years, citizens of Sudan will be permitted to travel to Israel, allowing long-lost fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers to reunite with the more than 6,000 Sudanese living in the Jewish state.
Sudan wasn’t the only country to codify its anti-Israel sentiment into law. In fact, the bill reflects the essence of the pan-Arab politics prevalent during the 1950 and 1960 that advocated for a complete boycott of the Jewish state.
While the anti-Israel tide is slowly turning with first Egypt, then Jordan and more recently the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco and Oman normalizing ties with their former foe, the Israel–Sudan deal holds added symbolism.
In the fateful summer of 1967, the Jewish state’s fighting force managed to beat back a horde of invading Arab armies for the second time in less than 20 years. Once the din of the Six Day War died down, Israel offered to give up the land gained over the six days of fighting—including Judea and Samaria—in exchange for peace with its Arab neighbors.
The said Arab neighbors convened the 4th Arab League Summit—and the first summit after the Six Day War—in the Sudanese capital to deliberate Israel’s outstretched hand of peace. Their answer came in the form of the Khartoum Resolution, infamous for the “Three Nos”: no to peace, no to recognizing Israel and no to negotiations.
Today, more than 50 years later, Khartoum’s three nos are continuing to turn into yes: yes to peace with Israel, yes to recognition of Israel and yes to normalization with Israel.
Sudan is currently led by a joint military and civilian government after long-time president Omar al-Bashir—who stands accused of organizing war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court—was deposed in a coup d’état last year.
The transitional government aims to transform the country into a more open and peaceful democracy with stronger ties with the US and the West.
Posted on April 20, 2021
Source: (Bridges for Peace, April 20, 2021)
Photo Credit: jorono/pixabay; Kurious/pixabay
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