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Tunisia diplomat who praised Israel president dismissed

November 15, 2022 at 1:38 pm

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog in Berlin, Germany on September 06, 2022 [Abdulhamid Hoşbaş/Anadolu Agency]

A former Tunisian minister said that the authorities dismissed the General-Secretary of the Union of Diplomatic Corps, Ibrahim Rezki, after he praised Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

Former Minister Hatem Al-Ashi wrote: “Ibrahim Al-Rezki, the secretary-general of the Union of Diplomatic Corps, was dismissed because he violated the duty of reservation and committed a grave mistake after his radio statements about the prime minister’s smile with the president of the Israeli occupation state.”

“Why is he being dismissed while defending the prime minister?” he asked. “He is a diplomat with over 25 years of experience in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and I do not think that his statements will harm Tunisia’s image.”

“Tunisia had a liaison office with Israel in the past [during the rule of former President Ben Ali]. When Rezki was asked about the possibility of peace with Israel, his answer was clear: Tunisia had previously opened a liaison office with Israel at the request of the Palestinian leadership, and if the Palestinian leadership asks for it again, Tunisia will respond,” said Al-Ashi.

“Instead of the foreign minister defending his colleagues and confirming that Tunisia is against normalisation and that Rezgui’s statements, if interpreted correctly, preserve Tunisia’s constants in its rejection of normalisation, he was dismissed. The Foreign Minister was supposed to defend Prime Minister Boden’s ‘smile’ with the president of the occupation state, and instead he left the matter to the general-secretary of the  Union of the Diplomatic Corps and he should have thanked him, not dismissed him on grounds of a grave mistake.”

READ: Anger as Tunisia PM seen chatting with Israel president

He also demanded that Al-Rezki be reinstated, and called on the media outlets that interviewed him to “defend him if they believe in freedom of expression, otherwise no state employee will speak to any media after today.”

Al-Rezki was subjected to a storm of criticism after he said that the Israeli president is an advocate of peace, and talked about possibility of Tunisia signing a peace agreement with the occupation if the Palestinian leadership requests this.

A video circulating on social media last week showed Tunisian Prime Minister Najla Boden in conversation with Israeli President Isaac Herzog at the COP27 climate conference in Egypt. This led to controversy as Tunisia has no official ties with the occupation state.