In a speech to the PJD party, Morocco’s head of government silenced speculation and highlighted Palestinian rights and the protection of Al Aqsa mosque.
Rabat – Morocco’s Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani has rejected rumors that Morocco and Israel could normalize diplomatic ties following the UAE-Israel “Abraham Accords.”
Speaking on Sunday during the opening session of the youth wing of the Justice and Development Party (PJD), El Othmani rejected international speculation over Morocco’s diplomatic position on normalizing ties with Israel.
El Othmani “affirmed the position of Morocco, the king, the government and the people,” according to a PJD statement. He highlighted Morocco’s priorities in defending the rights of Palestinians, residents of Jerusalem, and protecting the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
These crucial issues constitute “red lines for Morocco,” according to the head of government.
El Othmani squashed a week of speculation in Israeli media that Morocco could concede on its stance in defense of the Palestinian people.
Several prominent media outlets, including the Jerusalem Post and the Times of Israel, had speculated on the topic. The Times of Israel quoted US officials that had indicated Morocco could be next to normalize ties with Israel following the agreement with the UAE on August 13.
Any concessions “made in this field are rejected,” El Othmani stated resolutely. He indicated that any concessions by Morocco could drive Israel to “increase its violations against Palestinian rights.”
El Othmani stated that the entire Islamic world is responsible for guaranteeing and protecting the rights of Palestinians and that Morocco would reject any proposal of normalization.
El Othmani’s statements will come as a blow to the ambitions of Jared Kushner, the son-in-law and “senior adviser” to US President Donald Trump. Kushner’s expected visit comes as part of a tour of Arab countries, clearly attempting to use the “momentum” of the UAE agreement to sway other nations.
Morocco’s firm position on normalization with Israel will likely send a signal to other Arab countries that will see similar visits by top US officials. Kushner and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will make separate visits to “push Arab-Israeli rapprochement,” according to the Associated Press.
The US appears confident the tour will result in “at least one, and potentially more, normalization deals with Israel in the near future.”
These ambitions have been complicated as two of the four nations Kushner intends to visit already reaffirmed their position publicly. Morocco and Saudi Arabia have already publicly committed themselves to support Palestine, ahead of the diplomatic tour that will also see visits to Oman and Bahrain.