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Morocco: anger mounts against Israel ties amid Gaza famine

Anti-Israeli sentiment mounts in Morocco as famine intensifies in Gaza
3 min read
04 March, 2024
In recent months, conflicting diplomatic sources have both confirmed and denied Morocco's revocation of normalisation with Israel. 
Over the weekend, the Moroccan FM called for an "independent investigation" in the flour massacre. [Getty]

In Morocco, tens of thousands protested over the weekend against normalisation with Israel as anger towards Rabat's ties with Tel Aviv intensified amid a growing famine in the Gaza Strip.

On Sunday, 3 March, thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Casablanca, knocking on empty pots in their latest attempt to make their voices heard in the corridors of the Moroccan government. Similar scenes were witnessed in other cities around the North African kingdom.

"We call on Rabat to take a clear position on the war in Gaza (...) and revoke all ties with Israel," Mohamed El-Ouini, an activist in the Moroccan group against normalisation and one of the leading pro-Palestine groups in the country, told The New Arab.

Last week, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, called for an immediate ceasefire of the Israeli "aggression" on Gaza during the 55th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. 

"In the face of the resurgence of military operations and the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, the Kingdom of Morocco reaffirms its consistent positions and urges for the immediate, comprehensive, and lasting cessation of Israeli aggression on Gaza," said the minister. 

This is only the second time the Moroccan official has directly addressed the ongoing Israeli genocide in Gaza. Since 7 October, Rabat, which normalised ties with Tel Aviv late in 2020, avoided speaking on the war in Gaza or the current status of its relations with Israel.

Over the weekend, the Moroccan FM called for an "independent investigation" into the flour massacre where Israel killed over 127 Palestinians and wounded over 760 by targeting civilians who were desperately trying to obtain humanitarian aid.

The Israeli war has pushed 85% of Gaza's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine. At least one-quarter of Gaza's population — 576,000 people — is one step away from famine, according to the UN.

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In recent months, conflicting diplomatic sources have both confirmed and denied the revocation of normalisation with Israel. 

Nevertheless, the Israeli website I24 has confirmed that the war has affected Morocco-Israel's key cooperation area: trade.

"The trade between the two countries decreased by 60% this year. Economic ties between the two countries recorded a 128% increase in 2022," said the Israeli channel on 1 March, quoting local economic reports.

However, for several pro-Palestine activists in Morocco, Rabat's current position lacks seriousness, clarity, and commitment to the Palestinian cause.

"(Rabat) is still using new formats to avoid taking an official and clear position on the genocide in Gaza," said renowned Moroccan pro-Palestine activist Aziz Hanaoui.

Hanaoui, like several activists in the country, believes that the only meaningful step Rabat can take today — after Israel killed more than 30,500 civilians in Gaza — is to cut all ties with Tel Aviv and condemn its genocidal acts in the strip.