Contempt and humiliation is what best describes how Moroccans feel towards Israel-Morocco relations
The Israeli press was buzzing recently with the news that former head of the Israeli liaison office in Morocco, David Govrin, would be returning to his post in Rabat, to resume his duties until the end of his term next year.
This comes after an Israeli investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and corruption against Govrin was concluded, following his summons by Israel's foreign ministry in 2022 after a series of complaints by Moroccan female staffers at the Israeli liaison office in Rabat. The scandal sparked outrage in Moroccan society – the silent majority of whom utterly reject normalisation with Israel on any level.
While the news has not been confirmed officially either by Tel Aviv or Rabat, the Israeli press rushed to justify the move by proclaiming Govrin's innocence of all charges against him. But what these news sites omitted from all their reports was that Govrin was not actually subjected to a judicial court investigation in Israel - it was the Israeli foreign ministry which carried out the investigation, into its own employee, and which issued its own verdict of innocence.
Despite the clear public fury at the allegations against Govrin last year, the Moroccan authorities have made no response – it is as though the incidents in question took place in some other country"
As for Morocco, despite the clear public fury at the allegations against Govrin last year, the Moroccan authorities have made no response – it is as though the incidents in question took place in some other country, and its victims weren't Moroccan citizens!
If the news of Govrin's return is confirmed, the Moroccan authorities will find themselves in a deeply embarrassing position if they don't move to block his return, or at the very least, launch an investigation into the allegations of harassment by female Moroccan citizens against him.
This is especially the case when complaints were submitted by Morocco's largest human rights body to the Moroccan Public Prosecutor demanding a judicial investigation be opened into the allegations of sexual assaults against Moroccan citizens. There would also need to be legal consequences for all those proved to be involved – including those who covered up the acts or stayed silent (like Morocco's foreign ministry – which has remained closed-mouthed since news of the scandal broke).
Outside the lofty realms of Moroccan officialdom and its vow of silence, a furious debate is underway on social media over what those leading the discussions have dubbed "al-Ihaana" (a humiliating insult or slight). This is because the matter relates to allegations that the rights of Moroccan women have been violated, in a way that violates the dignity and honour of all Moroccans.
Even more humiliating is the fact that the accused perpetrator belongs to an occupying entity, with which relations have been normalised against the will of the (silent) majority of the Moroccan people, by way of high-level decision-making not subjected to any kind of democratic process.
And at a time there should have been a strong response by the Moroccan authorities regarding the news of the possible return of an individual suspected of committing crimes against female Moroccans on Moroccan soil, their sole concern was organising a reception for the Israeli Knesset Speaker in Rabat. This itself is an unprecedented act: even Egypt and Jordan - which normalised relations with Israel long before Morocco - have never taken this step.
"At a time there should have been a strong response by the Moroccan authorities regarding the news of the possible return of an individual suspected of committing crimes against female Moroccans on Moroccan soil, their sole concern was organising a reception for the Israeli Knesset Speaker in Rabat"
And the official reception of this individual inside the Moroccan parliament constitutes yet another insulting slight to Moroccans, because in theory, parliament should contain the representatives of the people – there to express their wishes.
A Moroccan parliament which ratified the normalisation agreement which was forced on the majority of Moroccans; and which has subsequently hosted many Israeli representatives, most recently its Knesset speaker; and which has been silent on assaults against Moroccan women by a representative from the occupation state, is not expected to protest tomorrow at the return of the suspect to Moroccan soil.
Nor it is expected to demand that suspect be handed to the Moroccan judiciary for justice to be done, which is the least the parliament could demand, to spare itself further embarrassment - after proving on multiple occasions its inability to protect those it is supposed to represent from contemptuous acts which encroach on the honour, dignity and reputation of Moroccans daily.
Would Israel persist in insulting Moroccans, if it weren't for the Moroccan officials who allow it to, and a silent majority who stay quiet no matter how grave the insult? Fear of condemning the insult doesn't justify staying silent, which only pushes the perpetrator to persist – and every time the act is repeated the insult becomes more severe and degrading.
Each day normalisation with the Zionist entity continues, Moroccans discover its ugly face more fully. However at the same time, Moroccan officials, who wordlessly accept every act of contempt, even those violating the honour and dignity of Moroccans, are now faced with a genuine test – that of defending their own dignity and honour.
As for Palestine, in "defence" of which Moroccan officials claim to have signed the normalisation deal, well it has its mighty people, who will defend their own dignity and honour with blood and fire.
Ali Anouzla is a Moroccan journalist and writer, and the editor of Lakome. He founded and edited several Moroccan newspapers. He received POMED's 'Leaders for Democracy' award in 2014.
Article translated from Arabic by Rose Chacko. Read the original article here.
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