Morocco says it rejects any normalization agreement with Israel

Moroccan prime minister denies rumors his country will join UAE in recognizing Israel, says Palestinian rights come first.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Dine El Otmani said his country rejects any normalization agreement with Israel, claiming it encourages violations of Palestinian rights, Israel’s Channel 12 reported Monday.

Otmani appears to have ended speculation in the media that Morocco would join the United Arab Emirates in recognizing Israel. Earlier this month Israel and the UAE announced they would be establishing diplomatic relations, a move that was praised by several Arab countries including Bahrain and Oman.

“We refuse any normalization with the Zionist entity as it encourages the continued violation of the rights of the Palestinian people,” al-Othmani told his Islamic party PJD.

Morocco’s official position supports a two-state solution, with eastern Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. Al-Othmani’s remarks were made in light of the planned visit of Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to the area in order to advance negotiations between Israel and other interested Arab countries.

Kushner’s diplomatic team is expected to visit leaders in Morocco, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Israel in a bid to promote Arab-Israeli rapprochement and get more countries to follow the UAE in recognizing Israel.

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Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said that Kushner’s visit was only to discuss “bilateral relations and developments in the Middle East,” Morocco World News reported.

Israel and Morocco maintain low-level ties and Israeli citizens are allowed into that country, but official relations soured during the Palestinian intifada that started in 2000.

Four Moroccan writers and intellectuals boycotted a prestigious Emirati literary prize ceremony last week because they disapproved of the UAE recognizing Israel.

Morocco has made no other official comment on the UAE decision to sign a deal with Israel. Rabat supports the two state solution with Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel, the North Africa Post reported.

Moroccan Jews are one of the largest ethnic communities in Israel and the current Israeli government has 10 ministers who have Moroccan origins.