Libya PM vows 'no Israel normalisation' following Mangoush scandal

Libya PM vows 'no Israel normalisation' following Mangoush scandal
The Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush fled the country after a reported meeting with her Israeli counterpart.
2 min read
01 September, 2023
Dbiebah said Libya would not normalise relations with Israel [Getty]

Libya's Prime Minister Abdulhamid Al-Dbeibah has vowed no normalisation with Israel following a scandal that erupted over a meeting between the two countries' foreign ministers.

Al-Dbeibah said his government "completely rejects" any normalisation deal with Israel and highlighted Libya's complete commitment to the "Palestinian people and their just cause".

It follows a reported encounter in Rome between Libya Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush and her Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen, sparking angry protests in Tripoli and a political crisis in Israel.

"What happened in Rome, regardless of the circumstances, reasons, methods, and regardless of good or bad intentions... [is a] serious matter," the PM told Libyan media.

He said he was proud of the response of the Libyan people and said it "clearly declared that the Palestinian issue runs in their veins".

Despite this, Al-Dheibah insisted that Mangoush had "all sincerity for the issues of her homeland and defended it in every forum", The Jerusalem Post reported.

Live Story

Israeli spy chiefs, politicians and even the US have slammed Cohen for the leak, saying it could lead to Arab politicians losing trust in Israeli negotiators and seriously jeopardise future normalisation talks.

Uproar to the meeting in Libya, where protesters blocked roads in Tripoli, saw Mangoush forced out of her job and into exile in Turkey.

While the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan recently normalised relations with Israel, most Arabs such a move due to Israeli oppression of Palestinians.

Saudi Arabia is the latest target for a US-led normalisation push, but has so-far rejected such overtures until an independent Palestinian state can be established.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh spoke with the head of the Libyan Presidential Council Mohammed al-Manfi about the Cohen-Mangoush meeting which he described as "an attempt by the occupation to penetrate the Libyan position that rejects normalisation".

It comes as an alleged audio recording of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was leaked where he appealed to his ambassador to Italy to get Israel to "save him" after a revolution erupted against his rule in 2011, according to Arabi 21.

He asked Hafez Kaddour to "move more" in planned communications with Israeli officials, in a report that cannot be verified by The New Arab.