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Tunisians debate constitutional clause outlawing normalisation with Israel

February 17, 2014 at 11:19 pm

As post-revolution Tunisia’s politicians try to draft a new constitution, a clause on normalising relations with Israel has created controversy. Article 2.27 of the latest draft reads: “All forms of normalisation with Zionism and the Zionist entity shall be deemed a crime punishable by law.”

A number of political parties support this article but the ruling troika headed by Al-Nahda does not believe that it is necessary to include such a clause in the constitution. They argue that Tunisians refuse normalised relations with Israel quite naturally.

Those in favour of the article are found among the nationalist and extreme left factions. Around 100 protesters held a demonstration last week threatening to unseat any government which supports normalisation with Israel.

The head of the Common Meeting Party, Dr Khalid Tarawli, criticised the parties which do not support the proposed article. “I do not understand this hideous stance,” he said. “This is our essential difference with Al-Nahda.”

Tarawli said that such a provision in the Tunisian constitution maintains the spirit of the revolution by making the Palestinian cause a pivotal issue by law.