Morocco slams Israel Jerusalem actions despite closer ties

RABAT: Morocco on Saturday condemned Israeli actions against Palestinian worshippers in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound this week, despite the two countries’ 2020 restoration of diplomatic ties.

The kingdom expresses its “firm condemnation of the incursion by Israeli occupation forces into the Al-Aqsa mosque, their closure of its gates and their aggression against unarmed worshippers in the mosque compound”, a foreign ministry statement said.

Morocco “believes that this flagrant aggression and deliberate provocation during the holy month of Ramadan will only inflame hatred and extremism, and reduce to nothing the chances of any relaunch of a peace process in the region”, the statement added.

More than 150 people were injured in clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli police in the Al-Aqsa compound on Friday, the first face-off at the flashpoint holy site since the start of Ramadan.

Witnesses said Palestinians threw stones at Israeli forces, who fired rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades.

Morocco restored diplomatic relations with Israel in late 2020 under an agreement brokered by the administration of then-president Donald Trump that also saw US recognition of Morocco’s claim to sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara.

But Morocco remains the chair of the Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Committee of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, which is tasked by the pan-Islamic bloc with the protection of the Al-Aqsa mosque and the cultural heritage of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

King Mohammed VI gave instructions for the kingdom’s condemnation of Israeli actions to be relayed directly to the head of the Israeli liaison office in Rabat, the foreign ministry added.

The ministry called on the United Nations and the international community to “intervene urgently to put a stop to these violations and aggressions against the Palestinian people”. – AFP