Israel's carrier El Al cancels summer flights to Morocco amid war on Gaza

Israel's carrier El Al cancels summer flights to Morocco amid war on Gaza
Morocco's national carrier RAM, which signed a codeshare agreement with Israeli carrier El Al in 2022, maintains one-way flights to Tel Aviv.
2 min read
06 February, 2024
El Al operated around five flights per week between the two states since then. [Getty]

Israeli Airlines El Al will not restart its direct flights to Morocco for the coming summer season, citing changes in customer demands since Israel launched its war on Gaza, reported Reuters on Monday.

Last October, El Al suspended its direct flights to and from Marrakech after the Israeli government recommended its citizens avoid travelling to Morocco for security reasons. During the same month, Israeli diplomats left Rabat following raging anti-normalisation protests in the North African kingdom prompted by Israel's mass killing of civilians in Gaza.

Other direct flights operated by the Israeli company have also been suspended in this context, including the route to Dublin, launched in March last year and halted since November.  

In July 2021, Israel launched direct flights between Tel Aviv and Morocco's Marrakech, about seven months after the two countries officially normalised relations.  

El Al has operated around five weekly flights between the two states since then. 

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Meanwhile, Morocco's national carrier, Royal Air Maroc (RAM), which signed a codeshare agreement with Israeli carrier El Al in 2022, continues, so far, to have one-way flights from Casablanca to Tel Aviv, according to the RAM website. 

Morocco and Israel normalised ties in late 2020. Since then, the two states have publicly celebrated their strong trade, diplomatic and military relations in what officials deemed 'historical' and anti-normalisation activists dubbed 'shameful.'

Even before the normalisation, some 50,000 to 70,000 tourists annually travelled to Morocco from Israel via third countries, many of them of Moroccan origin. 

Unlike other states in the region, Morocco has always granted entry to holders of Israeli passports because of the North African state's sizeable Jewish community in Israel. Some 700,000 Jews of Moroccan origin reside in Israel. 

Nevertheless, direct flights between the two nations are among the measures anti-normalisation activists in the North African Kingdom condemn, viewing them as part of the numerous decisions made by Rabat under the "shameful normalisation agreement with the Zionist entity."

Today, anti-normalisation activists and citizens are mobilised more than ever amid the unfolding Israeli war on Gaza.  

On 11 February, Moroccan pro-Palestine groups are set to take to the streets in a 'million march' in their latest attempts to pressure Rabat to revoke the normalisation deal, support a ceasefire in Gaza and condemn Israel's genocide.