Sat. Dec 9th, 2023

Like the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Morocco signed an agreement in 2020 establishing diplomatic relations with Israel. A rapprochement today contested by the street.

< p>Morocco and Israel: a relationship tested by war | Middle East, the eternal conflict

Open in full screen mode

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Casablanca on Sunday October 29.

  • Raphaël Bouvier-Auclair (View profile)Raphaël Bouvier-Auclair

Feature being tested

Log inCreate my account

Speech synthesis, based on intelligence artificial, makes it possible to generate a spoken text from a written text.

On a major artery of Casablanca, the most important city in Morocco, a huge Palestinian flag is carried tens of meters.

We are outraged by this unjust war against the Palestinian people, says a demonstrator, resident of the metropolis.

In addition to supporting the population of Gaza, the march has another clear objective: to denounce the agreement to normalize relations between Morocco and Israel.

It is the government that has relations with Israel, not the people, said a man met in the crowd. If we had been consulted, we would have refused.

Sion Assidon, one of the coordinators of the Moroccan Front in Support of the Palestinian People and the Fight Against Normalization, explains that this coalition, which has called for large rallies and daily actions across the country, brings together left-wing political parties, associations of the Islamist movement, unions and human rights associations.

Open in full screen mode

A huge Palestinian flag is carried through the streets of Casablanca, Morocco.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

Consult the complete file

Middle East, the eternal conflict

View full file


Sion Assidon, who began campaigning against rapprochement with Israel even before the signing of agreements establishing diplomatic relations between Rabat and Tel Aviv, notes that the opposition movement has gained momentum since the recent outbreak of conflict in the Middle East.

Before, it was difficult for people to take to the streets, for fear of repression, he says. Today, the two major demonstrations organized in October, one in Casablanca, the other in Rabat, attracted hundreds of thousands of participants.

The people are sending a message to our government and our leaders.

A quote from Ali, a protester

Open in full screen mode

Jared Kushner in Rabat during the signing of the normalization agreement between Morocco and Israel.

In December 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Donald Trump's advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, traveled to Morocco to formalize the agreement concluded between Rabat, Tel Aviv and Washington.

Morocco has agreed to establish official diplomatic and commercial relations with Israel. And the United States, for its part, has committed to recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, a disputed territory in the south of the country.

This policy, decided by the Trump administration, has not been renounced by President Joe Biden.

According to professor at the National Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics Rachid Touhtou, it is above all these imperatives linked to Sahara policy which guided the decision of King Mohamed VI, responsible for standardization.

Open in full screen mode

Sociologist Rachid Touhtou believes that the recognition of its sovereignty over Western Sahara is the determining element in establishing relations with Israel.

For him, everything Moroccan is the priority. And the Palestinian cause is not our priority. For us, the priority is interior Morocco, the Sahara, he explains.

In addition to the exchange of liaison offices, the normalization of relations between the two countries has resulted in agreements and partnerships in various sectors, such as research, defense and tourism, including the establishment of direct air connections between Tel Aviv and various Moroccan destinations.

Since the outbreak of the war between Israel and Hamas, Royal Air flights Morocco linking the Hebrew State and Morocco have been suspended.

In Marrakech, a tourist destination of choice for Israeli tourists, their absence is felt. In 2022, 70,000 Israelis visited Morocco.

They came in groups, says Ashraf, a seller of wooden sculptures based in the Medina, the old town.

A little further on, the manager of a small hotel offering kosher products explains that she had to review her strategy and no longer rely solely on Jewish customers.

Open in full screen mode

A seller carries a Palestinian flag in the medina of Marrakech.

Morocco today has a Jewish community of around 2,200 people, the largest in the Arab World. Many Israelis are of Moroccan ancestry, hence the North African country's tourist appeal.

Éric Benabou, a merchant and member of this community who has also lived in Montreal for a long time, notes that the demonstrations that have shaken the country since October 7 have discouraged some from going to Morocco.

There are quite a few Israeli, Canadian and even French Jews who have canceled, he notes, although, personally, he finds it normal and legitimate for people to demonstrate.

< blockquote class="Wrapper-sc-2357a233-0 FqMAW">

Hoping that in the Middle East they find a viable two-state solution so that this small territory stops influencing the political-economic life if not of the whole world, of ;a very large part of the world.

A quote from Éric Benabou, merchant and member of the Jewish communityOpen in full screen mode

Éric Benabou, a member of the Jewish community in Morocco, has noticed a lot of cancellations of visits by Israelis or members of the Jewish communities in Canada and France in recent weeks.

Will the demonstrations which take place on a regular basis in various Moroccan cities get the better of the diplomatic agreement between Tel-Aviv and Rabat? p>

The organizers seem to be able to count on popular support, since a poll carried out in 2022 indicates that only 31% of the Moroccan population was in favor of normalization.

When hundreds of thousands of people in Rabat and then in Casablanca take to the streets and clearly repeat that the people want an end to normalization, we hope that this will be heard, insists Sion Assidon, one of the organizers of the opposition movement. to standardization.

Open in full screen mode

Protesters express support for the people of Gaza and demand an end to relations with Israel at a rally in Casablanca.

For the moment, if the Moroccan authorities say they are concerned about the situation in Gaza, they have not officially addressed the relationship with Israel, unlike to Jordan and Bahrain, who recently recalled their ambassadors to Tel Aviv.

The Israelis evacuated the staff of their liaison office in Rabat, with media reports citing security reasons.

According to sociologist Rachid Touhtou, the evolution of the conflict will dictate Morocco's strategic interests, and therefore its position on the relationship to be maintained with Israel.

If we want normalization with the Jewish state, we need peace in the Middle East, otherwise Morocco will not benefit from it, he said, citing the risk of harming relations with other Arab nations.

The Moroccan monarchy is a monarchy that listens to the street, assures the expert.

Rachid Touhtou thus recalls that in 2000, in the middle of the second Intifada, Rabat returned to a rapprochement, albeit very discreetly, which had been made the previous decade with Tel Aviv.

  • Raphaël Bouvier-Auclair (View profile )Raphaël Bouvier-AuclairFollow

By admin

Related Post