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Tens of thousands of Moroccans rally against normalization

Nov 28, 2023

Casablanca [Morocco], November 28: Tens of thousands of Moroccans demonstrated Sunday in the country's commercial capital Casablanca, calling for a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the suspension of diplomatic ties with the Zionist entity. The fledgling rapprochement between the North African country and the Zionist entity had made steady progress since 2020 when the two governments normalized relations, but that has been thrown into reverse by the deadly conflict in the Palestinian territory.
Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain all established diplomatic ties with the Zionist entity under the Abraham Accords in 2020, which were negotiated under the administration of former US president Donald Trump. An AFP journalist reported Sunday that demonstrators in Casablanca waved Palestinian flags and demanded that Rabat suspend ties with the entity.
"It is not a truce that we need, but a permanent ceasefire" to give a chance "for peace, for the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state, with its capital in Jerusalem," socialist MP Nabila Mounib told AFP on Sunday. She said she hoped to see "the return of all those exiled in the Palestinian diaspora" and the release of Palestinian prisoners. Hassan Bahadou of the anti-normalization alliance of leftist parties and Islamists that organized the protest said: "We also condemn the silence of negligent Arab regimes allied with the Zionist entity."
Pro-Palestinian demonstrations had declined in recent years in Morocco but have surged since the Gaza war broke out. Moroccan cardiologist SafaeAbderazzak told AFP she was demonstrating "to condemn the (Zionist) aggression against our Palestinian brothers and against our fellow doctors who are being tortured and martyred in Gaza".
Analysts say scrapping the normalization deal with the Zionist entity is unlikely given the huge diplomatic reward Rabat obtained from then US president Donald Trump in return for signing the deal.
Trump gave US recognition to Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony whose status has been disputed with the pro-independence Polisario Front for decades. "Morocco is in a very delicate situation," Abouddahab told AFP.
On the one hand, there was "a profound desire to maintain a win-win relationship" with Israel and, on the other, "the pressure of the street."
Public support for the normalization deal inside Morocco has been on the decline, said Morocco-Zionist relations specialist, Jamal Amiar. It stood at just 31 percent last year, according to a poll published by Arab Barometer, and is likely to have fallen much lower since Oct 7. But he said he expected the government to stand by the agreement regardless, because the alternative was a "diplomatic mess" with the United States and the potential loss of the "huge prize" it had secured in Western Sahara. - AFP
Source: Kuwait Times