Difficulties are increasing in Morocco over the issue of normalizing relations with Israel. It is now understood that it may not be as easy for the Moroccan government to execute the agreement in this regard as it was initially thought. The latest reason for this is that a major Islamic group has launched a campaign against the government’s decision to normalize relations with Israel.
It will not be easy for the government to go against the opinion of this organization called Unity and Reform Movement (MUR). MUR is just a branch of the ruling PJD party, which also has the support of the people. The Moroccan government has decided to pursue full diplomatic relations with Israel at the initiative of US President Donald Trump. MUR did not respond until two days after it was announced. But now he has strongly opposed this decision.
King Mohammed VI of Morocco has a policy of supporting Palestine. They have been strongly opposed to Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. But the Islamist PJD Party government decided to normalize relations with Israel, despite endorsing King’s stance. This was supported by the parties involved in the PJD alliance. But now its own Sakha MUR has come out in opposition to the proposed agreement.
Morocco has a constitutional monarchy. Under this, the king is the constitutional head, but except for a few cases, the real power rests with the prime minister. The post of Prime Minister is given to the leader of the majority party in Parliament. The MUR has said that every attempt to establish a relationship with Israel and allow Israeli infiltration is scandalous.
Morocco became the fourth country to have decided to forge full diplomatic relations with Israel under a recent US-mediated settlement. Earlier, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Sudan have made similar decisions. The agreement, signed in the mediation of the Donald Trump administration, includes a provision to recognize the occupation of Morocco over the Western Sahara region. The Moroccan occupation of the region has been under dispute for the last four decades.
The indigenous community of Western Sahara is fighting for an independent country. Its represented Polisario Front is said to have the support of Algeria. The Polisario Front has condemned Morocco’s latest move. Observers have expressed apprehension that the new developments could result in an escalation of fighting in West Sahara.
Morocco’s ruling party PJD welcomed the government’s move on the basis of this provision. It said in a statement that an important declaration by the United States of America has stressed Morocco’s sovereignty over the southern provinces. This opens up new possibilities to strengthen Morocco’s stance in international circles. At the same time, this will isolate the opposing forces of territorial integrity of Morocco. Significantly, Morocco shows West Sahara as its southern province in its map.
According to experts, the king’s final decision in diplomatic matters in Morocco. King Mohammed VII has not yet expressed his opinion about this agreement. Morocco’s largest opposition group has called the decision a stab in the back of the Palestinian people. But this group, named ADL Wala Ihsan, has been declared illegal by the government.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that under the proposed agreement, Israel’s Tel Aviv and Moroccan capital Rabat will immediately reopen liaison offices. The year 2000 these offices were closed. Netanyahu has said that the two countries will establish diplomatic relations as soon as possible. Also, Jewish history and culture will be taught in Moroccan schools. This will be the first time in a North African country. Significantly, the religion of Morocco is Islam.