Despite criticism, Moroccan city to twin with Israel's Kfar Sava
The Moroccan city of Fes is set to twin with Israel's Kfar Sava as the two countries vow stronger ties after more than two years of normalisation.
Abdalem Al-Bakkali, Fes's mayor and member of the ruling party RNI, said Tuesday the city council is scheduled to discuss a draft cooperation and partnership agreement between Fes and the municipality of Kfar Sava (Kfar Saba), reported local media Hespress.
The draft in question has divided the city's council, driving the Islamist party of Justice and development to hold a press conference to stir up opposition against the controversial project.
"Instead of employing the city's gains to market it well and achieve development, he decides to harm it through this suspicious agreement, with unknown motives," said Mohamed Khaye, head of the PJD group in the city's council, during a press conference on Monday.
Many Fes' residents voiced anger and disappointment after hearing the "shameful" news.
"We are of course against that. We are battling those politicians' silly decisions every day. From all the things lacking in the city they choose to spend resources on befriending an apartheid regime," a student at Fes university told The New Arab.
"In Fes, we wear Kuffiyeh as daily attire. Almost every house in the city has a Palestine flag hung somewhere. It is shameful that they are ruining our city's reputation," a vendor in Fes told the TNA, as he spoke proudly of his city's loyalty to the Palestinian cause
Kfar Sava is a city in the Sharon region, located just across the Green Line from the Palestinian city of Qalqilya. In 2019 it had a population of 110,456, mostly Jewish, making it the 16th-largest city in Israel.
Despite the ongoing controversy, the city's mayor, who paid a visit to Israel last year, continues to defend the twining agreement, claiming it will help "support the values of tolerance and coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians."
"It will also encourage cultural exchange with the Israeli municipality, which includes about 100 thousand people, most of whom are Moroccans," the governor told local media Hespress.
Once Morocco's cultural and economic capital, Fes was home to more than 22,000 Jewish people who lived side-by-side with the city's Muslim community.
Throughout the old city of Fes, Mellah, there are still traces of the 675-year-old Jewish life, including the clock tower at the home of the Jewish scholar Maimonides.
Today, about 150 Jewish Moroccans live in the city, according to the Museum of the Jewish people.
Meanwhile, around one million Jewish people in Israel have Moroccan roots.
Late in December 2020, Rabat and Tel Aviv normalised ties under the US auspices vowing stronger cooperation in all sectors.
Since then the two states have relied heavily on the Moroccan Jewish community's history and culture to promote their problematic friendship, which 69% of Moroccans oppose, according to the Arab Barometer.
Thanks to pro-Palestine advocates, opposition against establishing ties with the Israeli state mounted not only in the MENA region but also among the European people who were once categorically pro-Israel.
On Wednesday, Barcelona suspended its twining agreement with Tel Aviv because of "the systematic violation of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian population."
The mayor of Barcelona’s decision came in response to an official petition by 100 social organisations and thousands of residents under the slogan, "Barcelona says NO to Apartheid, Barcelona says YES to human rights."