Elbit will come to regret its decision to operate in Morocco

Elbit will come to regret its decision to operate in Morocco
5 min read

Huda Ammori

27 June, 2023
The Israeli weapons company's plans to open two factories in Morocco is the latest step in Rabat's normalisation with Tel Aviv. But just like in the UK, Palestine solidarity activists have vowed to make it a difficult task, writes Huda Ammori.
Moroccan Palestine solidarity activists have already pledged to oppose Elbit's activities in their country. [Getty]

Morocco's government has made its bed with the Israeli weapons industry.

Recently, it was announced that Israel's biggest weapons manufacturer, Elbit Systems, plans to build two new factories in the country, an advancement on its previous contracts to supply the Moroccan government with Hermes 900 drones and an artillery rocket launching system.

This latest deal was announced days after a "celebration" of the 75th anniversary of Israel was held in the capital of Rabat, with both Israeli and Moroccan officials, diplomats and ambassadors.

Whilst they celebrated, Palestinians and international activists commemorated 75 years since the ethnic cleansing of Palestine began, the Nakba, which displaced over 750,000 Palestinians, destroyed over 500 indigenous villages and massacred many families.

The Nakba never ended, and Morocco's strengthened ties with Israel’s apartheid regime only serve to elongate and compound the continued displacement of the Palestinian people. 

The latest collaboration, and disregard for the plight of the Palestinian people, comes after a normalisation deal was made between Israel and Morocco in December 2020, paving the way for Israel to infiltrate the Moroccan establishment and economy.

Elbit's planned weapons production in Morocco will involve building short and medium range missiles, armoured vehicles, tanks and kamikaze drones. Elbit has made billions from developing its weaponry on the Palestinian people, often marketing them as "battle-tested", or more recently as "mature solutions".

The starting block for Elbit’s business model is supplying Israel’s military needs used to occupy Palestine. Then, it demonstrates to foreign governments how successful these arms have been in massacring Palestinians, leading to new buyers for their weaponry.

Elbit’s entire business model is built on the destruction of Palestine, and any expansion it plans to make in new countries will only make the military occupation of Palestine more lucrative. 

Prior to their expansion in Arab countries, Elbit Systems built numerous sites across Britain, Europe, the US, Canada and Australia — Israel’s key Western allies. Over 350 people in Palestine Action have taken sustained direct action across Elbit's sites in Britain, involving blockades, roof-top occupations, break ins and community mobilisation.

This constant pressure has led to Elbit losing its Oldham weapons factory, London HQ and over £280 million in contracts with the UK Ministry of Defence. These successes have come in spite of the continued stance of the British government to side with Israel's apartheid regime.

This stance is reinforced and sustained by Israeli lobbyists, one of which is Lord Stuart Polak. Polak is the former director and current honorary president of Conservative Friends of Israel and a key figure of The Westminster Connection, a "political consultancy" which lobbies the government on behalf of their clients. One of these clients is Elbit Systems. 

On 1st - 5th May 2023, a month before Elbit's latest expansion in Morocco was announced, Polak visited Rabat, Casablanca and Laayoune, as a guest of the "Moroccan Government for introductory meetings with ministers, politicians and businessmen; flights and accommodation paid for by Moroccan Foreign Ministry".

So far, Elbit has only announced the planned destination for one of its two Moroccan factories, which will be based in Casablanca. Perhaps the second is set for Laayoune in the Western Sahara, which is occupied by Morocco.

Just weeks ago, it was announced that Israel is now considering recognising Morocco's authority in this region. The US already recognised Morocco's sovereignty over the Western Sahara as part of conditions of the Abraham Accords, the deal that secured Morocco’s normalisation with Israel.

Morocco's deepening complicity with Israeli apartheid flies in the face of the government’s previous comments stating its, “unwavering support of the Palestinian people".

Despite the Moroccan state’s back-stabbing, the people of Morocco and grassroots activists have always remained steadfast in their solidarity with Palestine, holding regular protests and campaigns against normalisation.

Anti-normalisation activists in Morocco have already courageously pledged to oppose Elbit's planned expansion in their home country. 

The Israeli weapons industry’s aggressive expansion effort has met its match in the growing international solidarity movement with the Palestinian people, and our unrelenting campaign to shut Elbit down. But this has not come without consequences.

Here in Britain, 7 activists are imprisoned, and dozens more face prison, for taking action to disrupt Israel's supply chain. In Canada, activists are mounting a campaign against Scotiabank, the largest foreign investor in Elbit.

Now the latest battlefield for the campaign against Israel's military apparatus is in Morocco, where there is no doubt that the vigour of Palestine solidarity will make Elbit's new plan one to regret.

Wherever our battle is, however mighty our enemies are, collective resistance is where the real power lies. 

Huda Ammori is a co-founder of the direct action network Palestine Action and has conducted extensive research and campaigns targeting British complicity with Israeli apartheid. 

Follow her on Twitter: @HudaAmmori

Have questions or comments? Email us at: editorial-english@newarab.com

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff.

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