The decision is motivated by the UAE’s announcement to normalize ties with Israel.
Rabat – Moroccan poet Mohammed Bennis announced today his decision to withdraw from the scientific committee of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award.
The UAE’s decision to normalize ties with Israel motivated Bennis to take the action.
In a statement on Facebook, Bennis said that “following the agreement between the UAE and Israel to establish formal diplomatic relations between them, I decided to withdraw from the membership of the scientific committee of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award.”
Bennis is one of the literature enthusiasts that have long supported and defended the Palestinian cause.
In response to the US-brokered “deal of century,” Bennis said the proposal is an “American, rude, and despicable formula for an arrogant deal with a people that Zionism squandered their historical right to their land in the name of natural rights that transcend history.”
For Bennis, the deal is “now effective, even before its final chapter is complete. We will not cover up the truth. [The deal] was inaugurated by the relocation of the American embassy to Jerusalem and confirmed by both the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization office in New York and America’s abolition of its financial support for UNRWA.”
The poet argued that the measures mirror the “end of the idea ofthe two-state solution” and the right of return for Palestinian refeguees.
For his dedication to the Palestinian cause, the poet received the Medal of Culture, Creation, and Art by Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas in 2017.
Palestine’s ambassador to Morocco presented the award to Bennis in a ceremony held on March 16, 2017.
During the ceremony, Bennis spoke about Palestinian authors and poets, including Mahmoud Darwish, whose works were benchmarks for global solidarity and support for the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights.
Born in Fez in 1948, Bennis is known for promoting modernity in linguistic and poetic works.
Bennis, who is the founder of the House of Poetry in Morocco, is not the only poet or writer to object to the UAE’s decision.
Several Moroccan authors have announced their decision to boycott the Emirati literary prize.
One of the writers is Yahia Ben El Oualid, who recently announced his decision on his Facebook.
El Oualid said that normalization between politicians from UAE and the “usurper zionist entity led me to definitively and voluntarily withdraw my application.”
Moroccan novelists Zohra Ramij, Ahmed Elluizi, and Abu Youssef also declared their decision to withdraw from the literary contest.
Abderrahim Jairan, a member of prominent Emirati cultural magazine Mawrouth, announced his resignation.
Morocco’s government has long expressed support for the Palestinian cause and Palestinians’ legitimate rights.
The country continues to renew support for the cause, rejectng all unilateral Israeli measures in occupied Palestinian territories.