A Moroccan parliamentarian said he would not “publicly discuss” Moroccan relations with Israel, but Morocco’s position remains the same.
Rabat – The speaker of the Moroccan House of Representatives, Habib El Malki, told an Israeli journalist in Paris that he could not confirm any “intention” from Morocco to improve relations with Israel.
El Malki was in Paris at the Moroccan-French parliamentary forum and spoke to Hebrew outlet Maariv, along with Abdessamad Kayouh, the first vice president of Morocco’s upper house, the House of Councillors.
Kayouh explained, “It is not possible to publicly discuss relations with Israel.” He added that Morocco’s position on Israel remains the same, despite recent rumors in Israeli media outlets.
The Moroccan parliamentarians also denied that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had requested to visit King Mohammed VI earlier this month. El Malki and Kayouh said the story came from “media rumors.”
On December 5, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Morocco for several hours instead of an originally-scheduled two-day visit. Pompeo had delayed and shortened his Morocco trip by making a stop in Lisbon on December 4, where he met with Netanyahu.
Before Pompeo’s trip, a senior state department official had alleged that Morocco “has these quiet ties and relationship with Israel as well, as we all know.” Israeli outlets suggested that Netanyahu wanted to visit Morocco with Pompeo to meet the King.
However unwelcome Netanyahu may be, El Malki and Kayouh said Israelis are still welcome to visit Morocco.
Hundreds of Moroccan Jews visit Essaouira every September on the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Haim Pinto.
The majority of Moroccan Jews emigrated from the country in the last century, but there are still an estimated 2,000 Moroccan Jews living in the kingdom.