Morocco prevents protest against Israel ties in North African nation

2021-03-31 13:12:38
Morocco prevents protest against Israel ties in North African nation

Moroccan authorities on Monday prevented a protest in the capital Rabat against the North African nation’s recent normalization of ties with Israel that was brokered by former U.S. President Donald Trump.

A group of pro-Palestinian rights organisations had planned the sit-in near the country’s Parliament where they were met by a heavy police presence backed by water cannons and anti-riot forces.

Two prominent activists, Sion Assidon, Morocco coordinator for the international Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, and lawyer Abderrahman Ben Amrou, were escorted away by authorities and asked to leave the area.

“Unfortunately, political normalization ... comes after a long process of economic, agricultural, tourism and academic ties,” Assidon, a Moroccan Jew, told Reuters. BDS is a group that calls for economic pressure on Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian land.

A local authority source said the protest was not authorized due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, Hassan Bennajeh, a leading member of the outlawed Adl Wal Ihssane, one of several organisations which called for the protest, said the ban reflected a “weak political position”, saying that authorities had allowed a gathering in support of the deal in the same place on Sunday.

Trump claimed that the US-brokered normalization deal between Morocco and Israel would bring peace to the region. But observers say the deal sets the stage for more violence and conflict in North Africa and the Middle East.

A core element of the deal was U.S. recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara. A decades-old dispute over the territory has pitted Morocco against the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, which seeks to establish an independent state.

So far, a number of Arab states have normalized their ties with Israel, including the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan. The move has sparked harsh criticism among the Muslim nations.

Palestinians have called on Arab and Muslim nations to end these normalization of ties with Israel that aims to demolish the historical Palestinian cause. They say resistance is ongoing and no deal can bring peace to Israel at the expense of Palestinians.

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