Moroccans protest normalization deal with Israel, voice solidarity with Palestine

Hundreds of people have reportedly staged demonstrations across Morocco to express solidarity with the Palestinian cause and denounce Rabat’s agreement to normalize relations with the Israeli regime in a deal brokered with the help of the administration of US President Donald Trump.

On Saturday night, a large crowd took to the streets in the North African country’s largest port city of Casablanca, waving Palestinian flags and chanting slogans in condemnation of the “shameful” Israel-Morocco normalization agreement.

People protest against the Israel-Morocco normalization agreement in Morocco’s largest city of Casablanca late on December 26, 2020. (Photo via Twitter)

They also slammed the Tel Aviv regime’s ongoing crimes against Palestinian people.

This came after it was announced that a delegation from Morocco will visit Israel over the weekend to work on advancing bilateral diplomatic ties.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video statement on Saturday that the sides will discuss reopening liaison offices, establishing embassies and launching direct flights between Tel Aviv and Rabat.

The Moroccan delegation will arrive in Israel on Sunday evening, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

During a “warm and friendly” telephone conversation on Friday, Netanyahu extended an invitation for Morocco’s King Mohammed VI to visit Israel and the two agreed to continue contacts in order to advance the normalization agreement in the weeks ahead, a statement from the Israeli premier’s office said.

It noted that the two leaders congratulated each other over the renewal of mutual ties, the signing of the joint statement with the United States as well as bilateral agreements.

Israel and Morocco agreed on December 10 to normalize relations in a deal brokered by the United States, making the North African country the fourth Arab state this year to strike a deal aimed at establishment of relations with Israel. The others were the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

Trump sealed the agreement in a phone call with Morocco’s King Mohammed VI. As part of the agreement, the US president agreed to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara region.

The Algerian Foreign Ministry later rejected Trump’s stance, saying the US decision “has no legal effect because it contradicts UN resolutions, especially UN Security Council resolutions on Western Sahara.”

“The proclamation would undermine the de-escalation efforts made at all levels in order to pave the way for launching a real political process,” the ministry said in a statement.

Additionally, Hazem Qassem, a spokesman for the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement, reacted to announcement that Morocco will normalize relations with Israel, denouncing the deal.

 “This is a sin and it doesn’t serve the Palestinian people. The Israeli occupation uses every new normalization deal to increase its aggression against the Palestinian people and increase its settlement expansion,” he said at the time.

Israeli envoys arrived in Morocco on December 22 to meet its king and hammer out the upgrade in ties.

The Israeli delegation, led by national security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, was accompanied by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and architect of normalization deals with Israel.

Four bilateral deals were signed between Israel and Morocco, centering on direct air links, water management, connecting financial systems and a visa waiver arrangement for diplomats.

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