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Sudan

Sudan’s ruling Sovereignty Council officially voted late Monday to annul the country’s so-called Israel boycott law. Sudan’s cabinet voted earlier this month to repeal the law.

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Sudan’s Israel boycott law, in force since 1958, completely nixed the establishment of diplomatic relations with Israel, outlawing business relationships with Israeli companies and companies with Israeli interests, as well as business with individual citizens of Israel. Violations were punished by a prison sentence of up to ten years and a fine.

The move, hailed by former UN special envoy to the Middle East Nickolay Mladenov, came as part of the “normalization” process between Sudan and Israel, according to the Turkish Anadolou News Agency.

Sudan signed the Abraham Accords peace accord with Israel this past January 6th as part of the country’s rapprochement with the United States.

The country’s new Minister of Religious Affairs, Nasr Eldeen Mofarih approved a request by philanthropist Chaim Motzen to restore Sudan’s only Jewish cemetery, at his expense. The cemetery, in Khartoum, was all but destroyed after Jews were forced out in 1948, after the rebirth of the State of Israel.

Then-President Donald Trump, who brokered the deal, had announced the new ties in October 2020. Sudan was required to pay a judgment settlement to the victims of the 1998 US embassy bombings in Africa. The attacks in Kenya and Tanzania were carried out by the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization while its leader, Osama bin Laden, was living in Sudan.

Sudan agreed to pay $335 million, and Trump promised to remove Sudan from America’s International State Sponsors of Terrorism blacklist in return, thus opening the door to badly needed economic aid. Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok said at the time that his government was working “towards international relations that best serve our people.”

In a three-way statement with the United States, Sudan and Israel said later, “The leaders agreed to the normalization of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.