Sat. May 25th, 2024

Thousands of individuals gathered in Morocco’s economic hub, Casablanca, on Friday evening to protest against what they termed as “massacres” in the Gaza Strip and to express opposition to the nation’s normalization of relations with Israel.

Organized by the banned yet tolerated Islamist group Al Adl Wal Ihssane, the protest marked the latest in a series of sizable rallies across Morocco. Similar demonstrations were also orchestrated in the capital Rabat and the port city of Tangier.

The timing of the demonstrations held particular significance, coinciding with the final Friday of Ramadan, a sacred month of fasting, and Quds (Jerusalem) Day, an occasion observed annually across the region in solidarity with the Palestinian cause. Amid chants condemning normalization and the Israeli occupation, protesters voiced their discontent as the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas approached its seventh month.

Morocco’s decision to establish diplomatic ties with Israel in late 2020, brokered under the United States-led Abraham Accords, paralleled similar agreements made by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. As part of this diplomatic maneuver, Rabat garnered recognition from Washington regarding its claim to sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara territory.

Since the eruption of the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza on October 7, the North African kingdom has witnessed a wave of large-scale demonstrations urging the annulment of the normalization agreement. Mohammed Riahi, one of the protest organizers, emphasized the need to denounce the violence inflicted by Israel on Palestinians, condemning the destruction in Gaza and criticizing the silence of Arab nations.

Expressing concern over the implications of normalized relations with Israel, Casablanca lawyer Mohammed Ennouini underscored the potential consequences, stating that such agreements could embolden Israel to perpetuate civilian casualties with impunity. While Rabat officially condemned what it deemed as “flagrant violations of international law” by Israel in its conflict with Hamas, there has been no indication of an intent to reverse the normalization process.

According to data from the health ministry in Gaza, over 33,000 individuals have lost their lives in the territory since the onset of the conflict. The war, triggered by Hamas’s attack on October 7, resulted in the deaths of 1,170 individuals, predominantly civilians, in southern Israel, as reported by Israeli official figures cited by AFP.

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