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Morocco Expands COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign to 45-50 Year Olds

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Morocco Expands COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign to 45-50 Years Olds
Morocco Expands COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign to 45-50 Years Olds

Rabat – Morocco’s Ministry of health has announced the decision to expand its vaccination campaign to include  citizens between the ages of 45 and 50.

The ministry issued a press release today, calling on citizens to engage in the national campaign to achieve herd immunity.

Citizens within the target categories can send a text message to 1717 or  visit www.liqahcorona.a to get their vaccination date and location.

The ministry also called on citizens to respect all preventive measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The vaccinated population in Morocco reached 6,171, 437 people on May 16.

The number of people who already received the second doses of the vaccine reached 4,500,638.

The number of new COVID-19 cases are also remarkably decreasing. In the last 24 hours, Morocco recorded 127 cases.

No COVID-19-related death was reported in the 24 hours. The death toll reached 9,098.

Morocco also announced 297 recoveries. The total number of recovered patients now stands at 503,181.

The number of critical COVID-19 cases also declined to 211.

Casablanca-Settat region remains the first in terms of cases (73), followed by Marrakech-Safi (22), Rabat-Sale-Kenitra (10), and Souss-Massa (9).

Read also: WHO Welcomes Biden Support For Lifting COVID-19 Vaccine Patents

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Tangier Tetouan-Al Hoceima reached seven cases in 27 hours, followed by Dakhla-Oued Eddahab (four cases), Beni-Mellal Khenifra (one case), Fez-Menes (one case).

With the new COVID-19 cases, Morocco now has a total of 514,944 cases.

Morocco reportedly received 650,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine on Saturday. The new shipment aims to help the country achieve its goal of immunizing a considerable portion of the population to achieve herd immunity. 

Morocco received over nine million of COVID-19 vaccines, including Sinopharm.

China has pledged to send over 10 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccines in the coming weeks.

The shipment will contribute in helping Morocco boost its professed ambition of vaccinating 80% of its population.

Morocco’s DGSN Inaugurates New Equestrian Complex in Kenitra

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Morocco’s DGSN Inaugurates New Equestrian Complex in Kenitra
The complex holds the latest state of the art technology for all things equestrian, from saddle workshops to specialized equine hoof care.

Rabat – Morocco has unveiled a new equestrian complex in Kenitra as part of its Equestrian Police Division under its General Directorate for National Security (DGSN).

The new equestrian club in Kenitra, which spreads across 7,000 square meters, holds a main equestrian arena that meets international standards, according to Abdelkrim Lahrarti, the Controller General and Head of the Equestrian Police Division.

Besides the main equestrian area, the Kenitra complex also holds a secondary space exceeding 5,000 square meters, as well as an additional 2,500 square meter covered area.

The complex houses a variety of infrastructure for the equestrian force, providing access to modernized saddlery workshops, specialized farriery with new specifications, as well as a modern veterinary clinic.

Read also: Morocco’s DGSN to Commemorate 65 Years of Service Amid Pandemic

The complex’s modern equipment and new technologies are comparable to tools available at the international level, noted Lahrati.

The newly constructed equestrian club reflects DGSN’s plan to further involve horse-back policing as part of Morocco’s policing efforts. While the new club will allow its riders to strengthen their professional skills, it will also help the authorities to carry out daily responsibilities such as mounted patrols, police intervention in inaccessible areas and beaches, as well as the participation in public services and general maintenance of order.

Morocco has a rich history of equestrian arts and culture. The annual Hassan II Trophy of Traditional Equestrian Arts (Tbourida) is set to take place in Dar Es-Salam, Rabat, between November 15 and 21.

The last event that took place was in 2019, where the qualified “Sorbas” troops participated in the Moroccan championship after regional and interregional competitions across more than 20 cities in Morocco. The event brought together 18 senior troops, 17 years and older, and 6 junior troops, aged between 12 and 16 years old.

Morocco’s DGSN Opens New Lab of Scientific, Technical Police in Casablanca

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Morocco’s DGSN Opens New Lab of Scientific, Technical Police in Casablanca
Morocco’s DGSN Opens New Lab of Scientific, Technical Police in Casablanca

Rabat – Morocco’s General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) is celebrating the opening of a new laboratory of the scientific and technical police in Casablanca.

Head of DGSN and General Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DGST), Abdellatif Hammouchi, inaugurated the new lab.

The scientific lab covers an area of 8,600 square meters and is aimed  at modernizing all its establistimes to keep pace with changes and developments against organized crimes.

The facility includes five technical platforms as well as a division devoted to DNA and hereditary fingerprinting, the director of the lab, Hakima Yahia, said.

It aims to support technical and scientific developments in the field of detection of traces of crime, allowing a meticulous processing in a short time of samples of elements from crime scenes. The new facility can process as many as 300 samples in less than three hours.

The laboratory also includes new generation equipment dedicated to genetic expertise allowing the processing of 20,000 units of DNA in a single category to determine the geographical affiliation of individuals prosecuted in criminal cases and the characteristics of each, including hair, and eye colors.

Read also: Morocco’s DGSN to Commemorate 65 Years of Service Amid Pandemic

The new mechanism will also seek to determine the identity of victims, Yahia said.

The security official emphasized that Morocco is the third country in the Arab world to adopt this state-of-the-art mechanism in the detection of traces of crime. The two other countries with the system are the UAE and Qatar.

The security official said that the lab also includes equipment designed to tackle the  COVID-19 pandemic. It has a diagnostic unit for COVID-19 cases. 

It also has equipment to fight crimes involving all kinds of forgery.

The lab adopted new technical mechanisms to determine the nature of the ink used in forged documents, as well as others to enlarge the size of the processed elements by more than 300,000 their real dimensions.

The opening of the lab is part of DGSN’s commemoration of the creation of the directorate of national security, one of the prominent institutions in the field of security in Morocco.

Morocco to Participate in Naval Exercise in Tunisia

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Morocco to Participate in Naval Exercise in Tunisia
With Tunisia hosting, the participating countries are Algeria, Belgium, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, and the US.(Photo credit: US Navy)

Rabat – Morocco and 11 other countries will participate in a naval exercise hosted by the Tunisian armed forces between May 17 and 28.

The 2021 Exercise Phoenix Express, will be the 16th iteration of the North African maritime exercise. This year it is set to take palace off the coast of Tunis, the Tunisian capital, as well as throughout the Mediterranean Sea.

The main portion of the exercise will take place at the La Goulette naval base in Tunis. One of the main objectives is to test the North African, European, and US naval forces’ “abilities to respond to irregular migration and to combat illicit trafficking and the movement of illegal goods and materials,” according to organizers.

“Exercises such as Phoenix Express 2021 increase interoperability among participating nations in order to increase maritime security and sustain global commerce,” said Captain Harry Knight, Phoenix Express exercise director.

Read also: US’ Georgia Army National Guard to Join African Lion Military Exercise

He added: “Our maritime exercises allow us to develop our skills with our regional partners by learning from each other and working together.”

Besides the host country, Tunisia, 12 other nations are slated to participate in the exercise. Among them are Algeria, Belgium, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, and the US.

“Phoenix Express is more than a multinational maritime exercise; it is a strategic opportunity for all participating nations to build a fruitful partnership and benefit from the others’ experience,” said Senior Captain Jamel Ben Omrane of the Tunisian Navy.

“The Tunisian Navy is more than ever motivated to meet the challenges and organize the 16th iteration of Phoenix Express despite the COVID pandemic,” he added.

The exercise is held in a different location every year. The 2020 exercise was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions, and Morocco hosted the exercise back in 2019.

Morocco is an active participant in a variety of military exercises organized around Africa. Moroccan armed forces participate in organizing the joint Moroccan-American exercise,  “African Lion,” which some consider as one of the most important interallied exercises in the world.

Moroccan Armed Forces Strike Two Polisario SUVs

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Moroccan Armed Forces Strike Two Polisario SUVs
Moroccan military forces have in recent weeks killed several senior Polisario military members after they attempted to attack several Moroccan military surveillance positions near the sand security wall.

Rabat – The artillery corps of the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces (FAR) operating in Western Sahara destroyed two four-wheel-drive vehicles of the Polisario Front after they attempted to approach the Moroccan security Wall, according to Morocco News.

The vehicles caught fire and killed Polisario members onboard, Morocco News specified today in a Twitter post.

The Moroccan Western Sahara Wall is 2,700 kilometers long, consisting of sand and stone about three meters in height with bunkers, fences, and landmines throughout. It separates the Moroccan southern areas in the west from what Polisario calls “liberated areas” in the east. 

On April 9, the FAR killed Addah Al-Bendir, a senior Polisario military commander, alongside other military leaders in a drone strike operation. Al-Bendir was attempting a raid on Moroccan positions along the sand wall.

The news was reported after some Polisario operatives spoke to the Agency France Press (AFP) and Le Monde to confirm the death of their military leader. Rabat still did not confirm the news.

On April 12, a second senior military member, Najem Ould Ed’Dia, died after sustaining injuries during the April 9 drone strike.

The airstrike is considered the first Moroccan military operation against the Polisario Front since the 1991 ceasefire agreement.

The Algeria-backed Polisario Front has been fabricating news of an ongoing war against Morocco. Moroccan officials said that such allegations are unfounded and that the situation has not changed in Western Sahara.

In November 2020, Morocco conducted a brief military operation to lift a Polisario blockade at the Guerguarat crossing point near the Morocco-Mauritania border. 

Morocco’s Vaccination Campaign Nears 5 Million Fully Vaccinated

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Morocco’s Vaccination Campaign Nears 5 Million Fully Vaccinated
Morocco’s Vaccination Campaign Nears 5 Million Fully Vaccinated

Rabat – As of May 15, Morocco’s health services have administered at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to 6,171,437 Moroccans and 4,450,986 are fully vaccinated.

King Mohammed VI launched the vaccination campaign on January 28, 2021 and Morocco’s vaccine arsenal consists primarily of China’s Sinopharm and Oxford’s AstraZeneca vaccine. 

Morocco’s health ministry expected a shipment of over a million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V jab, however the worsening health conditions in India have delayed the delivery. Currently, Morocco has relied on the World Health Organization’s COVAX distribution plan. 

Global health experts are criticizing the COVAX program and vaccine manufacturers for uneven and unequal distribution of the vaccine. 

In early April,  the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated that the world’s poorest countries do not have the same access to vaccines as other wealthy nations such as China, most of the EU, and the US.

Read also: COVAX: Still Large Inequities in Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccine

Said Afif, a member of Morocco’s Health Ministry’s scientific committee, said that Morocco plans to achieve herd immunity by the summer.

Johns Hopkins School of Public Health released a report stating that 50-90% of a population must be considered “immune” to achieve herd immunity. An individual is considered immune to COVID-19 if they are fully vaccinated or have been infected with the virus within the past three months.

Morocco has fully vaccinated 12.2% of its population, although the number may begin to rise more rapidly as the government continues to decrease the age for vaccination eligibility. 

In the coming days, Morocco is set to extend vaccination eligibility to individuals aged 45 and older. As of now, all individuals aged 55 and older are able to be vaccinated.

Morocco remains a leader in Africa’s vaccination campaign as other African nations struggle to receive shipments of the vaccine.

Palestine Thanks Morocco For Humanitarian Aid, Calls For International Support

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Palestine Thanks Morocco For Humanitarian Aid, Calls For International Support
Palestine Thanks Morocco For Humanitarian Aid, Calls For International Support

Rabat – Palestine ambassador to Rabat, Jamal Choubki, has expressed his country’s gratitude for Morocco’s continued support for the Palestinian cause.

“I would like to express my thanks to Morocco, the King, the government, and the Moroccan people for their support for the Palestinian people and their firm condemnation of the Isali agrressions,” he said on Satuday.

He added that King Mohammed VI’s order to send emergency humanitarian aid for the benefit of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip reinforces the resistance of the Palestinian people to Israeli attacks.

While expressing his satisfaction with Morocco’s support, Choubki added Palestine’s holy city of Al Quds needs more support from the international community.

Emphasizing that Israeli agression will not end without dissauasive sanctions against Israel, the diplomat added that Palestinian people count on the Aab and Islamic community as well as the international community..

Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, without any respect for the sanctity of the place, the ambassador said.

He also recalled the heinous attacks and forced evictions of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem.

The ambassador said that Israel must understand that “no force can prevent the Palestinian people from realizing their rights to an independent state, with the city of Al Quds as its capital.”

Read also: Second Batch of Morocco’s Humanitarian Aid for Palestine Arrives in Jordan

Morocco continues to emphasize its  role to continue to support Palestinians‘ right to legitimate rights and independence.

Palestinians continue to face heinous attacks from Israeli forces, which have killed over 130 people in Gaza.

Amid lack of a strong international response to Israeli strikes, the UN has urged both Palestine and Israel to avoid escalation.

UN Human Rights High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, has called for de-escalation in the region

“Over the past 10 days, the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel has deteriorated at an alarming ate,” the UN official said.

According to Bachelet, the situation is “triggered by threats of forced evictions of the Palestinian families; the heavy presence of Israeli Security Forces and violence around the al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan; the severe escalation of attacks from and on Gaza.” 

Second Batch of Morocco’s Humanitarian Aid for Palestine Arrives in Jordan

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Second Batch of Morocco’s Humanitarian Aid for Palestine Arrives in Jordan
Second Batch of Morocco’s Humanitarian Aid for Palestine Arrives in Jordan

Rabat – A plane from the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) carrying humanitarian aid for Palestinians from Morocco landed today at Amman airport.

Morocco’s ambassador to Jordan, Khalid Naciri, attended the reception of the humanitarian aid, which is part of 40 tonnes of food products, blankets, and medicines.

The representative of the Palestinian embassy in Jordan also attended the reception.

Another FAR plane carrying the first batch of the aid landed earlier on the same day, while two other planes are expected to travel from Kenitra to Cairo.

On Friday, King Mohammed VI instructed the government to dispatch emergency humanitarian aid for Palestinians.

The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the aid is part of Morocco’s commitment to continue to support the Palestinian cause.

Israeli attacks have killed at least 170 people in Gaza, including children.

Attacks against Palestinians are ongoing  with Israeli forces determined to continue forcibly evicting people from their houses in occupied East Jerusalem.

Read also: Israel Kills 127 Palestinians, 47 Children as Rockets Fired from Both Sides

Since the eruption of violence many public figures and activists around the world have taken to social media to stand in solidarity with Palestinians. On Twitter, hashtags like#PalestineUnderAttack and #SavePalestine have prompted many to condemn the silence of the international community amid an increasing death toll.

Moroccans are also engaged in the campaign. Dozens of Moroccans flocked to Rabat amid COVID-19 crisis to show solidarity with Palestinians.

Poeple chanted slogans and waved Palestinian flags to condemn Israeli occupation and air strikes. 

UN Human Rights High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, has called for de-escalation in the region

“Over the past 10 days, the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel has deteriorated at an alarming ate,” the UN official said.

She also condemned the situation in Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem. 

According to Bachelet, the situation is “triggered by threats of forced evictions of the Palestinian families; the heavy presence of Israeli Security Forces and violence around the al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan; the severe escalation of attacks from and on Gaza.”

Tindouf: Food Relief in Refugee Camps Used as Livestock Feed

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Tindouf, Food Relief in Refugee Camps Used as Livestock Feed
Tindouf, Food Relief in Refugee Camps Used as Livestock Feed

In 2015, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) exposed  a scandal about the selling and stealing of European aid intended for refugees in the Tindouf camps run by the Polisario. 

In its report covering the period (2003-2007), OLAF exposed Polisario’s hidden secret. According to OLAF findings, the militia sells EU aid in the Mauritanian and Sub-Saharan markets to buy or barter weapons, amid widespread cases of malnutrition, poor health, and a large shortage of foodstuffs, especially following the flood of 2015. 

The European Commission body OLAF revealed in its report that blankets, medicines and construction materials that were intended to help the refugees were not distributed among the beneficiaries and were instead misappropriated by the leadership of the Polisario.

During the global lock-down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conditions of refugees in the Tindouf camps are only getting worse. 

They have been even exacerbated by the military skirmishes carried out by the Polisario from Algerian soil.

Last year, in the aftermath of Morocco’s November 13 operation to foil Polisario’s military maneuvers in Guerguerat, the Polisario leadership declared a state of emergency in the camps. This led to a mass recruitment campaign for all active groups. Hence, refugees are deprived of all activities from which they were earning their livelihood.

Read also: UN Report Stresses Hunger Pandemic, Malnutrition in Tindouf Camps

After the illness of Polisario leader, Brahim Ghali, Algeria furtively deported him to get treatment in Spain with an Algerian name and identity. 

This clandestine move has brought to the fore the issue of humanitarian aid allocated by the United Nations to the refugees in the Tindouf camps. When Sahrawi human rights organizations took note of the presence of the Polisario leader under the pseudonym “Mohamed Ben Battoush,” they moved to prosecute him for committing murder, torture, rape and enforced disappearance against refugees and their families.

Al- Maadla Mint Al-Kori Ould Mohamed Salem is the first human rights activist in Spain to organize a sit-in outside the San Pedro Hospital in Logrono, where “Mohamed Ben Battouche” is being treated. 

In a recorded statement, Al- Maadla confirmed that she calls to prosecute the leadership of the Polisario in all their where-abouts because of her father, who was imprisoned and tortured by the leader of the Polisario, Ibrahim Ghali, in 1977. 

With a sad tone in her broken voice, she said “the Polisario doesn’t care about my mother’s feelings. They did not even bother to apologize to us, although they deprived us of seeing our father and forbade his children. They did not even bother to talk to me about this, so I could not bear this insult.”

Feeling insulted by the execution of her father and 164 other victims, including 57 people who were killed in cold blood in the horrific Polisario prisons, Al-Maadla Mint Al-Kori founded a human rights association, the Sahrawi Association to Combat Impunity in Tindouf Camps (ASIMCAT), to plead on behalf of victims in all international forums. 

She filed, for instance, an immediate complaint to the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, against the militia’s leaders. 

Read also: Sahrawi Activist: Algeria, Polisario, Exploit Sahrawis in Tindouf Camps

Due to the planned prosecution of the Polisario Front’s leader in Madrid for his crimes against humanity, this Sahrawi activist receives many death threats against the rest of her family, who are still living in the refugee camps in Rabouni, on Algerian soil.

Al-maadla’s complaint against the ailing Brahim Ghali prompted the Polisario leadership to deprive and exclude her family from food rations and humanitarian aid provided by the World Food Program (WFP). 

The tactic of starving human rights activists in Rabouni brings to mind Polisario’s crime of selling aid packages intended for refugees. A human rights defender and former detainee, Bouzid Moulay, stated that the Polisario leadership “uses the aid intended for refugees as fodder for herds of its camels and livestock.” He added: “The Polisario reduces the rations by depriving the families of human rights activists by using their food for fodder or reselling them at very high prices in north Mauritania.”

With the success of the campaign of solidarity with the Al-Kori family in the Tindouf camps and beyond, it is high time for the intervention of the High Commissioner for Refugees, WFP and the HCHR to protect human rights activists and their families from the Polisario, whose criminal behavior has become under the hearing and eyes of international courts.

Israel Kills 127 Palestinians, 47 Children as Rockets Fired from Both Sides

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Israel Kills 127 Palestinians, 47 Children as Rockets Fired from Both Sides
Hamas, the Islamist party ruling Gaza, said it will continue to airstrike Israel for destroying buildings home to offices of international journals.

Rabat – Around 26 Palestinians, including eight children, were killed in Gaza in the early hours of Sunday after Israeli military forces fired rockets as violence continues for the seventh consecutive day.

The death toll in Gaza has risen to 174 people, including 47 children, according to Palestinian health authorities. Fatalities were also observed on the Israeli sides, with Israel’s health authorities reporting 10 deaths following Hamas’ retaliatory airstrikes.

Hamas said it will continue striking Israel after the Israeli army destroyed a 12-storey building headquartering the US’ Associated Press (AP) and Qatar-based Al Jazeera media operations.

Israel destroyed the building after it gave a brief evacuation notice. The Israeli military claimed that they demolished the building because it contained Hamas military offices.

The AP expressed its dismay at the attack and demanded Israel to show proof of the existence of Hamas’ military offices in the building.

“We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building,” the AP said in a statement.

Read also: Palestine-Israel: There Is No Such Thing As the International Community

Observers have said the airstrikes on international press headquarters in Palestine show that Israel is attempting to prevent journalists from continuously reporting on its violence and killing of Palestinian civilians. In retaliation for the destruction of the Al-Jala building, Hamas fired 120 rockets overnight at Israel, killing 10 Israelis.

The airstrikes began after Hamas launched rockets at Israel for evicting Palestinians from their homes, invading the al-Aqsa mosque and assaulting worshippers.

The violence and the forced home expulsion of Palestinians began after Israeli courts ruled that Israelis have a right over the homes of their ancestors. The court’s ruling claims that Jewish families had properties in Jerusalem prior to the division of the city after the establishment of the state of Israel in Palestine in 1948. 

A group of Jewish plaintiffs then said that they had proof of ownership and began illegally forcing Arab Israelis out of their homes.

Footage went viral on social media of a discussion between an Israeli and a Palestinian woman in front of her home. In the widely shared video, the Israeli is seen telling the Arab woman that he is just obeying court orders and that someone else will steal her home if he does not. 

The resurgence of violence in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has caught the attention of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The court’s top prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has said that an investigation is “underway into alleged war crimes.”

Bensouda intends to conduct the investigation without the cooperation of Israel which accuses her office of anti-Semitism.

For the ICC prosecutor, war crimes have been committed by both the Israeli military and Hamas.

Palestine-Israel: There Is No Such Thing As the International Community

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Israel Kills 127 Palestinians, 47 Children as Rockets Fired from Both Sides
Hamas, the Islamist party ruling Gaza, said it will continue to airstrike Israel for destroying buildings home to offices of international journals.

Having failed – or vaguely attempted – to calm the situation in Palestine, the international community, especially Western governments, is hiding behind light condemnations of the escalating violence, Le Monde concluded in a recent editorial.

In the article, the French newspaper decried what it describes as a toothless international community with no clearly dominant global power and no definite consensus on how to address the question of Palestine, including Israel’s continued violations of UN resolutions. 

Western countries “have accompanied the military escalation between the armed factions of Gaza and Israel with their worn-out and classic words,” writes Le Monde. The repeated  – but powerless – calls for dialogue emphasize the “disconnect between diplomatic semantics and the terrifying reality on the ground, which has been observed for years, undermines the credibility” of the international community, said the editorial.

It cited the US’ continued support for Israel, in the form of a blank check, as one of the clearest indications of why Israel has few or no reasons to change course. As fears mounted in recent days of full-scale military confrontation between Israel and Hamas, the UN Security Council called for a meeting to deliberate on the situation and urged parties to show restraint. 

Read also: Israel Destroys Gaza Press Offices Of Al Jazeera, Associated Press

But Washington’s opposition to any strong-worded condemnation of Israel meant the meeting achieved nothing of substance. While another UNSC meeting has been scheduled for this Sunday, the broad expectation is that there will yet again be no consensus. For Le Monde, “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reveals, like other crises, an obvious fact: there is no such thing as the ‘international community.’” 

In lieu of a reliable international community, what we have is “a fragmented, competitive, tormented world, with no hegemonic power.” Even more worrying for fervent proponents of an effective liberal world order, “the Covid-19 epidemic has accelerated the disintegration of classic multilateral frameworks.”

In Europe, the reluctance to confront Israel on its discriminatory policies towards Palestinians stems from two attitudes, according to Le Monde. For some countries, namely France, there is the prevailing warning against “importing” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or unwittingly condoning the resurgence of anti-Semitism. 

In the second category of countries, namely in Eastern Europe and Germany, there is the existence of an assertive anti-Semitism that confuses anti-Zionism with racism against the Jewish community.

As such, argues Le Monde, “the European Union has given up on exerting any pressure on Israel, while the occupation continues unabated and the colonization progresses.” 

Further complicating the picture is Hamas’ attacks on Israeli targets. The group’s firing of rockets at Israeli cities has become the most repeatedly used argument by pro-Israel commentators to shun any criticism of Israel’s disproportionate response or the expansion of the illegal settlements in Palestinian territories. 

Read also: US Denounces Gaza Attacks On Journalists, Silent On Civilian Deaths

Regarding the possibility of peaceful cohabitation, Le Monde contends that “the unprecedented scenes of lynching and confrontation between a minority of Jews and Arabs” in recent days has put to rest most people’s dreams of Arab-Jewish coexistence in Israel. 

The result is that an increasingly far right-leaning Israeli political establishment can continue racializing and stigmatizing Palestinians and Arab Israelis while invoking the security card. 

This means that those who only conceive of the conflict from a security lens – and this seems to be the majority position among global powers  – are bound to raise eyebrows at any “unfair” or “emotional” condemnation of Israel by saying that it has a “legitimate right to protect itself.” 

“The Palestinian question is exhausting, but it cannot be exhausted without a political solution,” writes Le Monde. But, it appeared to concede, increasingly emerging from global powers’ attitude to recent escalations is the sad conclusion that many countries simply want to “turn the page.” 

This also means that, as securitization prevails over an honest exploration of a political solution, even the much-invoked “two-state solution catechism” may end up becoming a way of delaying – even averting – a genuine global reckoning on the Palestinian tragedy.

Palestine Supporters Defy France’s Ban on Pro-Palestine Demonstrations

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Palestine Supporters Defy France’s Ban on Pro-Palestine Demonstrations
For Palestine supporters, France's ban and the justifications it has elicited among major politicians and media personalities speak of tacit support for Israel and its colonization of Palestinian territories.

Pro-Palestine organizations in France are braving France’s recent ban on pro-Palestine protests to take to the street and express their solidarity with Palestinians amid continued Israeli bombardments on Gaza.

Paris-based supporters of the Palestinian cause are preparing to demonstrate Saturday afternoon, while several other authorized rallies or marches are planned throughout France, AFP reported.

Announcing their plan to demonstrate, the Association of Palestinians in the Iles-de-France said they are ready to defy the French government’s ban “because we refuse to keep quiet about our solidarity with the Palestinians.” It added, “Because we will not be prevented from demonstrating, we will be present (at the Barbes metro station) on Saturday at 3pm.” 

At the request of France’s Interior Minister, Gerard Darmanin, local authorities in Paris announced on Thursday that they were banning any demonstrations in the French capital to avoid “risks of unrest.” The statement recalled similar events in 2014, when pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Paris degenerated into “urban violence.”

Read also: Western Media Organizations Skew Information on Israel Attacks on Gaza

Left unsatisfied by the ban on demonstrations, the Association of Palestinians in the Iles-de-France appealed to the Administrative Court, explaining that they only plan to protest in a “pacific” show of solidarity with distressed Palestinians. But the court confirmed the ban on Friday. “Participating in a banned demonstration is subject to a fine of 135 euros,” the Paris Police Prefecture subsequently wrote on Twitter.

Gabriel Attali, the spokesperson of the French government, said the ban was “a pragmatic” decision. “We do not want to have scenes of violence, we do not want to import a conflict on French soil, we do not want a crisis of hatred in the streets of the French Republic, ” he explained.

For pro-Israel critics, journalists, and politicians in France, pro-Palestine protests are often a pretext for some radical leftists to freely vent their anti-Semitic sentiments.

Darmanin, the French Interior Minister, has asked the Paris police to closely monitor the gatherings of Palestine supporters and to ensure the protection of places frequented by the Jewish community.

For Palestine supporters, however, the ban and the justifications it has elicited among major politicians and media personalities speak of tacit support for Israel and its colonization of Palestinian territories. 

There is a feeling that bans on pro-Palestine gatherings and laws by some European governments confounding anti-Semitism and legitimate criticism of the Israeli government’s policies may end up emboldening the Israeli government. Observers have maintained that the Israeli authorities are more likely to pursue the illegal evictions of Palestinian and the military raids on Gaza and other Palestinian lands.

Read also: Israel Continues Bombardment, Prepares Palestine Ground Invasion

Paradoxically, while Western governments continue to downplay the suffering of Palestinians by either looking the other way or justifying Israel’s “legitimate response” to “provocations” from Hamas, some Israeli commentators have been trenchantly critical of their government’s discrimination against Palestinians and Arab Israelis.

“This is more than a reaction to Hamas’s rockets. There’s something deeper going on under the surface,” Israeli political analyst Dahlia Scheindlin told the Guardian.“I don’t believe in both-siderism. It may look like this is mutual, but this is coming from very different places.”

Scheindlin was scathingly critical of the “increasing normalisation” of the Israeli far right and how politicians in the country have embraced the ensuing racism to appeal to more voters, according to the Guardian.

Sholomo Ben-Ami, a former Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, is even more direct in his recounting of the origins of the recent escalations. 

“Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem, its humiliating control of access to the Al-Aqsa mosque, the ever-present memory of the 1948 Nakba (the displacement of 700,000 Palestinians when Israel was founded), and the grievances of Israel’s Arab minority are all fueling the current flare-up,” Ben-Ami wrote in a recent article. 

The ongoing conflict has left as many 150 Palestinians dead, including 40 children, and hundreds injured in the Gaza Strip since Monday, according to many reports. On the Israeli side, nine people have been killed, including a child, and nearly 600 injured. 

But with most major powers engaging in both-siderism to avoid confronting the reality of Israel’s illegal settlements and the disproportionate response to Hamas’ attacks, many maintain that there seems to be no end in sight as the recent surge in violence threatens to claim many more lives and leave many families without a home. 

Morocco’s DGSN to Commemorate 65 Years of Service Amid Pandemic

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Morocco’s DGSN to Commemorate 65 Years of Service Amid Pandemic
Morocco’s DGSN to Commemorate 65 Years of Service Amid Pandemic

Rabat – Morocco’s General Directorate for National Security (DGSN) will celebrate 65 years of service on Sunday. Since its inception under King Mohammed V, the DGSN has been the main police body of Morocco. 

The DGSN has faced many challenges since its initial commencement. In the past year, the challenges have included managing the COVID-19 pandemic, working to add more female officers to the force, and serving as Morocco’s border control entity.

Since March 20, 2020, the DGSN has been primarily responsible for managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Acting as a liaison between the government and the people, the police force has worked to enforce state health measures such as nightly curfews and the wearing of masks in public spaces. 

Morocco’s police force has worked to maintain public order during the pandemic as some attempted to spread false news and protest against the government mandates. 

In 2019, the DGSN underlined the special importance of female police officers for International Women’s Day by organizing celebrations and giving awards. Female police officers aided in 851,343 criminal cases in 2020, with an increased crime rate of 33% from 2019.

As for Morocco’s borders, the DGSN serves as the initial contact for travelers entering and exiting Morocco. In addition to customs, the police force works daily to curb irregular migration attempts along Morocco’s coasts.

In the most recent case of mass irregular migration, the DGSN worked with Spanish police to repatriate 26 Moroccan nationals that attempted to swim into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta.

The entire police force received  a minimum pay raise of MAD 750 ($85) in 2019. Higher ranking officers within the force received at least MAD 1000 ($113) with a maximum raise of MAD 3000 ($339). 

The Surete Nationale (National Police Force), Gendarmerie Royale (Military Police Force), and Forces Auxiliaires (Paramilitary Police Force) make up the different departments of the DGSN.

US Denounces Gaza Attacks On Journalists, Silent On Civilian Deaths

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US Denounces Gaza Attacks On Journalists, Silent On Civilian Deaths
Renowned journalist Matt Taibbi interpreted the US message for what it truly meant, replying to the tweet with “Dear Israel: Please bomb around the journalists. Signed, the U.S. government.”

Rabat – The US on May 15 has told Israel to not target journalists while remaining noticeably mute on all other attacks on Gaza’s population. 

US government spokesperson Jen Psaki tweeted about Israeli airstrikes that targeted a building housing several media organizations in Gaza. “We have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility.”

Renowned journalist Matt Taibbi interpreted the US message for what it truly meant, replying to the tweet with “Dear Israel: Please bomb around the journalists. Signed, the U.S. government.”

The tweet at once showed the power of the US to halt any Israeli activities, and provided evidence for the active US support for Israel’s offensive against Gaza. Just as the US can stop Israel from attacking journalists, it can stop the entire conflict in minutes.

Silent support

The US administration of Joe Biden is continuing to support Israel’s onslaught on Gaza. As arguably the only country that could at any time end the conflict, Biden’s team is continuing to allow Israel to commit its illegal, violent attacks on the densely populated area of Gaza City.

In February, the US still castigated China for not being part of the “rules based world,” while currently it is actively supporting Israel’s breaking of international law and repeated violations against UN resolutions. 

Chinese columnist Chen Weihua commented on today’s attack on the offices of The Associated Press and Al Jazeera, tweeting “If China or Russia had done anything remotely like this, Psaki, Blinken, Biden, Sullivan, Rubio, Cotton, Hawley… would all go berserk. Now they are all pretending brain dead.”

US culpability 

Some on Twitter have decried inaction by powerless actors such as the UN, who can do nothing to end the conflict because of the US. 

The silence from Washington is all Israel needs to continue its disproportionate retaliation, safe in the knowledge that the US will protect Tel Aviv diplomatically against the will of the global community.

With activists around the world unsure how to resolve the ongoing conflict, criticism of the US’ lack of response has been anything but strong. 

If the conflict truly needs to be halted immediately, as a variety of UN top officials and world leaders have stated, the global community would be better served to target Washington, where one phone call from Biden would produce an instant cease-fire. 

Without any real push-back from the US, the people of Gaza will continue to suffer and die without any consequences for Israel.

Suez Canal Authority to Expand Lane After Blockage Incident

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Suez Canal to Undergo Lane Expansion Project After Blockage Incident
Suez Canal to Undergo Lane Expansion Project After Blockage Incident

Rabat – Since the late March incident in the Suez Canal, the authority responsible for the trade route has begun dredging to expand the canal near where the blockage occurred. 

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) announced on Saturday that it would widen the canal by 40 meters between the city of Suez and the Great Bitter Lake to the north. The project will also deepen the canal by 20 to 22 meters. Nearly 50 ships pass through the Suez Canal every day and an expansion would permit two way traffic in one section and more ships to pass through overall.

On March 23, the “Ever Given,” a 220,000 ton container ship, miscalculated its approach into a narrow portion of the canal and disrupted global trade routes until March 29. Experts stated that the six day blockage would have a ripple effect causing disruption for months. 

Head of Consumer Research at ParcelHero, David Jinks, said that the incident held up nearly €8.2 billion in goods daily and cost global trade over €5 billion in total. The Suez Canal serves as the primary shipping lane between East and West Asia and Europe.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered the SCA to “immediately start implementing the proposed development plan and put in place a timetable for completion as soon as possible.”

The Ever Given serves as a prime example of the need for an expansion project as many other shipping companies have described the canal’s narrow passageways as difficult to navigate. Currently, the SCA has detained the Ever Given and demands that its Japanese owner Shoei Kisen Kaisha must pay $916 million for damage and salvage costs.

Israeli Aerial Attack On Gaza Refugee Camp Kills 8 Children, 2 Women

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Israeli Aerial Attack On Gaza Refugee Camp Kills 8 Children, 2 Women
As Israel’s air force attacked the Shati refugee camp in Gaza on Saturday morning, “a wall of fire filled the street, and shrapnel and glass flew everywhere,” local resident Almeqdad Jameel told Al Jazeera.

Rabat – The Israeli air force fired several missiles at a family home in a Gaza refugee camp, killing 10 family members who had gathered for Eid celebrations. The air raid by Israel early on Saturday morning, May 15, killed eight children and two women from the same family. 

The family had gathered on the second day of Eid to celebrate the end of Ramadan amid the ongoing assault on Gaza. As the family slept, missiles were fired at their family home, killing everyone inside except for an infant boy. 

Al Jazeera, whose Gaza offices were destroyed by an Israeli attack today, spoke to the survivors who reported that the casualties include 14-year old Suheib, 11-year old Abdelrahman, 6-year old Wisam, two women, and four other children. 15 others were wounded by the airstrike.

As Israel’s air force attacked the Shati refugee camp in Gaza on Saturday morning, “a wall of fire filled the street, and shrapnel and glass flew everywhere,” local resident Almeqdad Jameel told Al Jazeera. A local doctor described the refugee camp bombing as a “massacre that cannot be described.”

Read also: Israel Destroys Gaza Press Offices Of Al Jazeera, Associated Press

Shati refugee camp in Gaza is the third largest refugee camp in Gaza according to the local UN refugee agency (UNRWA). The refugee camp, often dubbed the “beach camp” for its location, is one of the most densely populated refugee camps in Gaza, housing 85,628 within a 500 square meter area.

The Gaza camp that suffered heavy bombardment by the Israeli airforce is home to 14 school buildings, a food distribution center, a health clinic, and UN offices. The area has already faced power cuts and extremely high unemployment rates due to the Israeli economic blockade on Gaza. 

First-aid workers searched the rubble for survivors as families buried their dead. Another violent night has brought the Palestinian death toll past the 139 deaths reported by Gaza’s Health Ministry on Friday.

The father of four of the victims of last night’s attack emphasized the crimes committed against his family to the Times of Israel. “They were safe in their homes, they did not carry weapons, they did not fire rockets,” he explained, adding, “they were killed wearing their clothes for Eid al-Fitr.”

Sevilla Sets €50 Million Asking Price for Youssef En-Nesyri

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Sevilla Sets €50 Million Asking Price for Youssef En-Nesyri
The reported outpouring of offers for En-Nesyri comes amid what many commentators say is the Moroccan footballer’s best season so far.

As big names of European football continue to court Moroccan striker Youssef En-Nesyri, his Spanish club Sevilla FC has reportedly set its asking price for the 23-year old footballer.

According to Spanish outlet Marca, Sevilla remains open to good offers despite the general impression that neither the player nor the Spanish club actually wants the transfer to take place this summer. En-Nesyri’s goals have earned him a secure spot at the club, and he has consistently said that he feels fulfilled and wants to stay.

But Sevilla’s “dilemma,” Marca wrote, is that “while it will be difficult” to find a suitable replacement for En-Nesyri should he depart at the end of this season, the Spanish club “could not turn down” an offer of €50 million for the Moroccan.

So far, En-Nesyri is said to have attracted interests from the likes of Juventus, Tottenham, Liverpool, West Ham United, among others. But only West Ham has to date specified its proposal – the English Premier League team is willing to offer €40 million to sign the Moroccan striker.

The reported outpouring of offers for En-Nesyri comes amid what many commentators say is the Moroccan footballer’s best season so far. He has scored 24 goals in all competitions for Sevilla, making him an integral piece of the club’s largely successful season. This week, En-Nesyri’s 66th minute goal against Valencia maintained Sevilla in Spain’s thrilling title race

It is virtually impossible for En-Nesyri and his teammates to win the Spanish title – they currently sit in fourth place in the table and trailing behind Atletico Madrid who are in first place, by six points with only two matches remaining. But the fact that they are still agonizingly close – although Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid remain the two favorites – is a vibrant testimony to their consistent form this year.

Read also: Liverpool Reportedly Interested in Signing Morocco’s Youssef En-Nesyri

En-Nesyri showed glimpses of his quality in some matches of last season. But it is this year that the 23-year old striker really blossomed and matured into a “complete striker,” as some commentators have put it. His thumping performances at the beginning of this year even earned him a profile article from Sid Lowe, arguably the best English-language commentator of Spanish football.

“Technically En Nesyri has limitations, is one footed and has much to learn about positioning and timing, taking decisions, how to play: when to drop, when to go, which pass to choose,” Lowe wrote at the time. “Yet there’s an ability to maintain high intensity sprints and to repeat them consistently that sets him apart. There’s a willingness to try, plus time to do so: at 23 he is still young, with a wide margin for improvement.”

These plaudits came after En-Nesyri entered Sevilla’s history books by scoring two consecutive hat tricks. It was a time, as Lowe put it, when the Moroccan striker was “outsourcing Messi,” perhaps the best footballer there has been in the past decade. 

Monchi, Sevilla’s sporting director, took the risk of signing an underperforming, very average En-Nesyri from Leganes because he “saw something in him, material to build with: quick, aggressive, resistant,” according to Lowe.

As En-Nesyri’s performances improved, Monchi surely felt vindicated. His gamble had paid off. But also content with how things have turned out is Julen Lopetegui, the Sevilla coach who integrated En-Nesyri and gradually gave him a spot in his team. After En-Nesyri scored his historic successive hat tricks, Lopetegui said: “Youssef is at a fantastic age to keep growing and he’s at the ideal place.”

The understanding at the time was that both Sevilla and En-Nesyri were happy with where they stood and had no desire of ending their adventure together. Not now, at least; not this soon. “I’m going to stay, I’m not going anywhere. I want to finish the season here. Sevilla is a big club too,” was En-Nesyri’s verdict when it emerged that his performances were putting him on the radar of many “big” clubs. 

But the pandemic has been especially catastrophic for Spanish clubs. And with Sevilla understandably looking to make sound financial decisions that could help mitigate some of the pandemic-induced consequences, En-Nesyri and the club he appears to love so fiercely could be compelled to part ways at the end of this season.

Israel Destroys Gaza Press Offices Of Al Jazeera, Associated Press

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Israel Destroys Gaza Press Offices Of Al Jazeera, Associated Press
The offices of Al Jazeera and The Associated Press were leveled after the building was destroyed completely following the missiles’ impact.

Rabat – Israel’s army has launched missiles at and destroyed a Gaza city tower block that is home to media outlets reporting from the besieged area. 

Israeli media reported on Saturday, May 15, that Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF) have destroyed the Al Jalaa tower in the heart of Gaza. Israel deployed airplanes to fire missiles at the tower block that was home to several media outlets reporting on the ground from Gaza.

The offices of Al Jazeera and The Associated Press were leveled after the building was destroyed completely following the missiles’ impact. 

Israeli media made several attempts to justify the attack against the building that houses some of the few remaining media outlets able to report from the city. The Times of Israel described how the IDF had first fired a “roof-knocker” missile at the building, to “warn” occupants to abandon their homes and offices prior to its destruction by more destructive missiles.

Local media in Israel described the residential block as an “example” of a building that could potentially house “cyber centers, weapons stores and various communications hubs.”

Al Jazeera correspondent Safwat al-Kahlout painted an altogether different picture of life in the tower block. “I have been working here for 11 years,” al-Kahlout explained, “I have been covering many events from this building, we have lived personal professional experiences now everything, in two seconds, just vanished.” 

Al Jazeera’s Jerusalem correspondent Harry Fawcett warned of the attack on Twitter, saying that the “Israeli army has warned that the building housing Al Jazeera’s bureau in Gaza is about to be destroyed. Expecting the attack to begin in next few mins. Colleagues have been evacuating.”

Following the destruction of the tower block, Fawcett commented, “this is a very personal moment for all of us, the idea that the place is not there any more is extraordinary to contemplate.”

Iconic Moroccan Artist, Actor Hammadi Ammor Dies Aged 90

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Iconic Moroccan Artist, Actor Hammadi Ammor Dies Aged 90
In 2005, during an event in his honor, his colleagues described Hammadi Ammor as “one of the most emblematic figures of our audiovisual landscape” and thanked him for his long career.

Rabat – Moroccan cinema lost a star yesterday night, May 14, as actor and artist Hammadi Ammor passed away at 90 after a protracted illness. Born in Fez in 1930, Ammor had a talent for the dramatic arts which he expressed first in 1948 in the amateur theater scene of Morocco.

His passion became a career three years later when in Casablanca he created the “Al Manar” acting group in 1951. A shining star, he grew famous as the years passed, expressing his talents across various forms of Moroccan media and arts. 

Fans will remember Hammadi Ammor for his memorable performances on the stage, as well as his prominent role in Moroccan cinema and radio. Ammor shared his passion for the arts with many during his more than a decade-long hosting of “Alam Al Founoun” (The world of the arts).

His written work has been an inspiration to several other prominent Moroccan stars of the stage and screen, including Mohammed El Idrissi and the singer Maati Belkacem, famous for classics such as “Ya Bent Lamdina” and “Mkhasamni.”

Several of Ammor’s cinematic performances have become classics in Moroccan movie history, including his memorable role in 1999s “Keid Ensa” and “Al Mohima,” released in 2002.

Ammor was celebrated for his contributions to Morocco’s dramatic arts and media. In 2005, during an event in his honor, his colleagues described Hammadi Ammor as “one of the most emblematic figures of our audiovisual landscape” and thanked him for his long career. 

At the time, Ammor had joked that he had briefly left the art world to work in business for a time because it was difficult to make a living in the arts. “But, very soon I returned to my passion because it is this which really enriches me,” he told the crowd.

At the time, journalist, actor, and writer Abdelrahim Bargache described Hammadi Ammor as “this modest man who, despite his success, has kept his simplicity.” Actor Abdelkader Moutaa in 2005 said Ammor “taught me everything, to see with my ears and not with my eyes,” adding that it was “a pleasure to perform with him, I felt safe. Even when he does not say a word, he works, transmits energy.”

Ammor’s legacy will continue in the inspiring influence he had on young Moroccan drama students, of whom he said “you represent the future, you must be strong, it’s when you go out that everything will start.”

‘Self-Determination’ or Self-Interests: What’s Behind Rabat-Berlin Spat?

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‘Self-Determination’ or Self-Interests, What’s Behind Rabat-Berlin Spat
‘Self-Determination’ or Self-Interests, What’s Behind Rabat-Berlin Spat

Rabat – Some observers find it very surprising that Germany believes Morocco’s decision to recall its ambassador for consultations is “astonishing” and “unusual.”

Morocco’s government has taken several similar decisions for decades in response to moves undermining the country’s strategic interests, especially its sovereignty over its southern provinces in Western Sahara.

One of the recent pieces of evidence has been  Morocco’s firm position  against Spain’s decision to admit Polisario leader Brahim Ghali for medical treatment under false identity without informing Morocco.  

Spain is Morocco’s primary partner ahead of France and it is one of the largest importers of Moroccan goods. Germany is  Morocco’s seventh largest trade partner.

Germany provided Morocco with 1.3 billion in loans and financial aid in 2020. 

Observers were eager for answers when Morocco decided to suspend contact with Germany’s embassy in Rabat.

On March 1st, Morocco made the move without providing sufficient details, leaving analysts scrambling for potential answers. 

While some said the move was due to Germany’s hostile position on  the Western Sahara conflict, others attributed its silence  about Mohamed Hajib, a former terror suspect living in the European country.

It was not until May 6th, that Morocco gave detailed information about its decision to suspend contacts with the German embassy in Rabat.

Western Sahara: Morocco’s Redline

On May 6, Morocco announced that it had recalled its ambassador from Berlin for consultations.

Morocco found Germany’s hostile approach towards its  diplomatic gains  the country scored in the international community “unexplained.”

It criticized Germany’s response to Trump’s Western Sahara proclamation, saying that Berlin had not “distanced itself from its destructive attitude” on the Sahara conflict.

Morocco also accused Germany of promoting “antagonistic” activism following the US’ recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Germany was the only major European power that criticized Trump’s move. As if that was not enough, it convened a Security Council meeting on the conflict, calling on Washington to act within the framework of international law.

Previously, Morocco has had no issue with the “neutral” stance many of its European partners claim to adopt.  Partners that advocate for neutrality in the conflict in the international community — although some of them lean toward Morocco’s position, including France.

Unequal Benefits

However in recent months, particularly after the US’ decision to recognize Morocco’s position of sovereignty over Western Sahara, Rabat had been keen for more unambiguous support from partners with whom it enjoys a “long-standing” strategic relationship .

In March, Bloomberg published an opinion from its columnist Bobby Ghosh who said that Morocco’s dissatisfaction with Germany “exposes Europe’s hypocrisy.”

Although European countries continue to tout and invoke international law to defend Polisario’s long disqualified self-determination narrative, they “disregard their own laws to expand economic ties with Morocco.”

The US-based platform also cited Germany’s “hypocrisy,”  saying that  the European country “thought it could get away with some cheap virtue-signaling in response to the Trump decision, while a unit of Siemens AG could celebrate a large order of wind turbines” in southern Morocco.

Morocco’s response to European hypocrisy surprised some countries. Transpiring from this attitude is that many thought the North African country would continue to tolerate their dubious neutrality stances for several more decades while maintaining billion-dollar projects and trade partnerships.

Following the US’ proclamation, Morocco’s government addressed a clear message to Europe, calling for more clarity regarding its stance in the conflict.

In February, Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita urged the EU to adopt the “international trend” with regards to the Western Sahara.

He also called on the EU to get out of its comfort zone and support the positive dynamics underway in Morocco’s southern provinces.

“Today, the train will leave. Is Europe going to remain passive or contribute to this dynamic?” Bourita asked.

For some observers, Germany’s recent position is due to Berlin’s inability to secure enough partnership contracts with Morocco, unlike countries such as France.

Morocco possesses an array of resources, including fisheries, phosphates, and renewable energy sources, attracting several foreign investors

Germany is one of many partners that have notable trading figures with Morocco, but the country lags behind the likes of France, Spain, and the US.

Germany’s recent stance regarding Morocco’s priority interests led some observers to argue that the country seeks more presence in Morocco. The idea is that, as it looked to cement its presence in Morocco, Germany turned to “pressuring methods,” including increasing hostile advocacy against Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

The situation requires flagging up a series of recent developments that Morocco has experienced recently.

In 2019, Morocco approved two then-draft laws on the delimitation of its maritime border with Spain.

Law 37-17 delimits Morocco’s territorial sea, extending over 12 nautical miles from Moroccan coasts. In accordance with international law, Morocco has complete sovereignty over its territorial sea and the airspace above it.

In its territorial sea, Morocco has the right to build and protect pipelines, cables, and navigation equipment. The North African country also has the right to enforce its fiscal, medical, and immigration laws in the territorial sea.

As for the second legal text, Law 38-17, it covers the delimitation of Morocco’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). It extends the area by over 200 nautical miles from the Moroccan coast, along with the limits of its continental shelf, 350 nautical miles away from its coast.

Through EEZ, Morocco has the right to establish artificial islands, equipment and exploit them. The law also ensures the right of scientific research and laying submerged pipelines and cables.

The delimitation of maritime borders with Spain angered Madrid, which has for years attempted  to secure the natural resources located in the Tropic seamount, located 250 miles or 453 kilometers in the southwest of the Canary Islands.

The region is rich in minerals including rare materials used in solar fields, including tellurium. The region is also rich in cobalt, a resource used in the manufacturing of electrical cars.

Unsurprisingly, Morocco’s decision did not sit well with Spain. Immediately after the Moroccan government announced its plans to delimit the country’s maritime borders, Spain protested against what it perceived as a unilateral move. Rabat’s reaction to the spanish response was a sharp combination of diplomacy and intransigence. Rabat offered to amicably discuss with Madrid while making it clear that it would not relent on its “sovereign interests.”

Germany’s equally challenging stance on a number of highly important questions for Morocco has been interpreted as a kind of blackmail diplomacy. As a leading nation  in the automotive industry, a booming sector in Morocco, Germany’s current attitude is believed to stem from its quest to secure for German businesses a sizable share of the abundant resources and investment opportunities in Morocco’s southern region.

Underestimating Morocco’s foreign influence

Beyond apparent disagreements on the economic sphere, the growing Morocco-Germany rift can also be attributed to a few divergences on the diplomatic scene. 

Germany’s surprising exclusion of Morocco from the Berlin Conference on Libya readily comes to mind. But just as striking was Morocco’s trenchant, scathing response to what it interpreted as an unacceptable diplomatic afront. 

Not only was Rabat’s anger on full display in its official response to Germany, the statement clearly suggested that excluding the country from a regional issue is the kind of hostile attitude that it could not tolerate. 

When Morocco recently announced its decision to recall its ambassador from Germany,  it made sure to recall the Berlin conference episode. In recent years, it argued, a number of Germany’s actions have been “countering Morocco’s regional influence, particularly on the Libyan issue.”

Making the German decision more incomprehensible and diplomatically untenable was that Morocco has long been the regional country with a track record of actively facilitating a political solution to the Libyan crisis. 

That Germany snubbed Morocco despite Rabat’s key role in contributing to the UN-led political process suggested there was something more profound at play, observers have suggested.

The Berlin meeting took place on January 19, 2020, with the presence of Algeria and a host of other countries.

Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement to express its “deep astonishment” at its exclusion from the Berlin conference. 

Morocco argued that it has always been at the “forefront of international efforts to resolve the Libyan crisis.”

Morocco hosted several roundtables on Libya, convening rival Libyan factions in several meetings in Bouznika and Tangier.

The series of roundtables have been credited for facilitating the agreements that have considerably contributed to the UN-led political process and the appointment of an interim government.

Refusing separatism only outside Europe

One situation that leads to many questions is the different approaches Germany is taking on separatism in Spain and Morocco.

A few years ago, when Spain was facing waves of protests from Catalans, the German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth  argued that “separatism doesn’t solve problems.”

Some observers believe Germany’s stance on the Catalan dossier exposes Europe’s hypocrisy, hiding behind “caution and realism” when tackling some conflicts but turning to “moral standards” when addressing similar cases in so-called third world or developing countries. 

Violating intelligence rules

But Germany’s position on  Western Sahara is the tip of a much larger iceberg when it comes to declining relations with Morocco. As well as appearing to challenge Morocco’s sovereignty over its southern territories, Germany is believed  to have disclosed sensitive content from Morocco’s intelligence services about  the case of former convicted terrorist Mohamed Hajib. 

The alleged breach of confidence  angered Rabat and laid the ground for the latest developments in the Morocco-Germany relationship, according to converging reports. Morocco arrested Hajib in 2010, sentencing him to seven years for terrorism charges and training with terrorist groups.

After leaving prison and moving to Germany, Hajib started uploading videos to YouTube, accusing Moroccan security services of “torture.”

Morocco shared intelligence with Germany on Hajib, demanding his extradition. Not only did Berlin turn down Rabat’s request, it has reportedly shared sensitive information with the former terrorist convict who doubled down on his online vitriol against Morocco.   

In its latest statement on the episode, Morocco accused German authorities of acting “inappropriately” in the Hajib case. The statement notably took issue with Berlin for disclosing sensitive information “communicated by the Moroccan security services to their German counterparts.”

The North African country also condemned Germany’s “complexity” in tackling the dossier. 

FindLaw said in March 2019 that leaking or disclosing classified intelligence to the general public or to a foreign entity is “a serious matter of national security.”

Disclosing information is a crime in most countries. In the US, unauthorized disclosure of information is punishable and a crime under the “Espionage Act of 1917,” FindLaw added.

By communicating sensitive intelligence to a former convicted terrorist who continues to harbor hostility towards Moroccan institutions, has deepened the gap of mistrust that separates the two countries. 

Hajib often appears in videos to repeat his Morocco-bashing narrative — accusing Morocco of human rights breaches, including torture in prisons. Although his claims have been consistently debunked by former extremist comrades and cellmates, Hajib continues to stand by his narrative.

German espionage

Germany recently passed a legislation seeking to expand surveillance powers across the world, reports find.

“Without convincing evidence, the German government wants to expand surveillance powers for  the intelligence services,” About Intel reported in October 2020.

DW reported also that Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) has used a Swiss company to spy on world leaders for many years.

The German news outlet said that both the BND and US foreign intelligence services worked together to operate the Swiss company Crypto AG.

Germany’s BND is also linked to espionage not only on its own citizens but also on journalists and human rights activists.  

Last year, Germany’s highest court ruled that the law allowing the BND  to spy on foreigners telecommunications outside of Germany is against fundamental rights, BBC reported.

The ruling said the BND does not have any right to monitor foreigners’ data abroad without a valid reason.

The ongoing Morocco-Germany spat may cause the European country to lose the trust and good faith of a partner that has a proven track record in steadfast collaboration and information-sharing with the world’s leading intelligence services.  

Whether it is with Spain, France or the United States, Morocco has provided critical intelligence that has helped those countries thwart deadly terrorist attacks on their soils. 

King Mohammed VI Sends Emergency Humanitarian Aid To Palestinians

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King Mohammed VI Sends Emergency Humanitarian Aid To Palestinians
King Mohammed VI Sends Emergency Humanitarian Aid To Palestinians

King Mohammed VI instructed the government to dispatch emergency humanitarian aid for Palestinians as part of Morocco’s commitment to continue to support the Palestinian cause.

A statement from the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced today, May 14, that the King gave his instructions for the dispatch of a large shipment of humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The aid is made up of 40 tonnes of food products, emergency medicine, and blankets;

Aircraft from Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces will be deployed to send the aid to Palestine.

The decision is part of the “Kingdom’s continued support for the just Palestinian cause and its permanent solidarity with the brotherly Palestinian people,” the statement said.

Morocco has repeatedly condemned Israeli violations of human rights and the continuous cycle of violence and attacks against Palestinians.

The current assault on the Gaza Strip has so far claimed the lives of at least 119 Palestinians, including children.

Graphic photos show families mourning the loss of their children and relatives, causing uproar among the international community.

People took to social networks to share their mounting concerns and denounce the lack of an intervention from the UN and worldwide powers to stop the Israeli massacre and the forced evictions that Israel is launching against Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem.

People are using several hashtags, including #PalestineUnderAttack and #SavePalestine have been going  viral on social networks as part of the solidarity campaign in support of the Palestinian cause..

Internet users are also condemning the responses of some countries to the situation.

Countries like Germany sparked outrage among the Arab world and beyond for declaring that Israel “has the right to defend itself.”

“The German government condemns these incessant rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip against Israeli cities in the strongest terms, Angela Merkel’s spokesperson Steffen Seibert said.

Israel Continues Gaza City Bombardment Despite International Warnings

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Israel Continues Gaza City Bombardment Despite International Warnings
Morocco will start dispatching emergency aid to the West Bank and Gaza in support of the people of Palestine.

Rabat – The world is watching the renewed conflict between Israel and Palestine unfold in Gaza, despite the resounding outcry from a growing number of countries and institutions. Governments around the Middle East are speaking out about the violence and international institutions, such as the UN and the International Criminal Court (ICC) have joined as well.

Morocco sends aid to Gaza

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has condemned the ongoing violence in Palestine’s occupied territories. Morocco’s monarch released a statement emphasizing that the ongoing violence is only set to worsen, “reducing every chance of peace in the region.”

In response, Morocco will start dispatching emergency aid to the West Bank and Gaza in support of the people of Palestine. Morocco’s foreign ministry has been instructed to send 40 tonnes of basic food products, medical aid, as well as blankets for those affected by the spiraling conflict.

Calls for deescalation

The world’s top court warned of the possibility that renewed conflict will see war crimes committed again. The ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Benouda took to twitter, saying “I note with great concern the escalation of violence in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as in and around Gaza, and the possible commission of crimes under the Rome Statute.”

With her remarks, Bensouda joined a long list of international diplomats who have called for an easing of tensions amid the rapidly escalating violence. On May 12, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described de-escalation as an “absolute must,” in order “to protect the lives of civilians that are now dying in totally unacceptable circumstances.”

Child victims

UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric and Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland reiterated those concerns. In a tweet, Wennesland called on combatants to “stop the fire immediately,” while Dujarric reiterated that Guterres is “particularly appalled that children continue to be victims of violence.”

“We are on the brink of a full-scale war, in any war, children – all children – suffer first and suffer most,” said Henrietta Fore, executive director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Fore called on combatants to “protect all civilians, especially children, to spare essential civilian infrastructure from attacks, and to end violations against children.”

Continued bombardment

The densely populated city of Gaza is of particular concern for those fearful of a growing death toll among innocent civilians and particularly children. Despite a near universal call for de-escalation and mediation from the international community, the bombardment of Gaza City, home to two million people, continues.

Israel has deployed its army, airforce and navy to attack the city from all sides. Gunboats have fired at Gaza’s sparse agricultural land near the town of Beit Lahia while heavy artillery and tanks have shelled the city from across the border where thousands of Israeli troops are amassing.  

Refugees flee UN facilities

Palestinian residents of Gaza have been fleeing the city, afraid of a seemingly inevitable land invasion that could soon see Israeli infantrymen and armored vehicles on the streets of the city.

Even those sheltering in UN-managed facilities and camps are on edge as previous conflicts have shown Israel’s defense forces to have little respect for the UN’s on-the-ground presence.

With the world holding its breath, there appears to be only one country that could instantly stop the coming onslaught. The UN security Council has been meeting to find a peaceful solution yet it has been blocked from issuing a statement on the matter by the US.

US involvement 

The US continues to provide a diplomatic shield for Israel at the highest diplomatic levels, effectively hampering any effort to de-escalate the conflict. Meanwhile, Israel appears to view the Biden administration’s actions as a blank cheque to continue its disproportionate exercise of violence against Gaza and Palestine as a whole.

The US’ unwavering support for Israel has allowed it to continue its illegal settlement construction and land grabs in Palestinian neighborhoods. The Israeli strategy of continuous encroachment on Palestinian territory has led to the desparate and ineffective rocket attacks from the armed wing of Hamas, which Israel uses as justification for its coming invasion.

No end in sight

With the unspoken support of the US, Israel faces no true opposition. Israel is vastly superior militarily in comparison to Hamas’ ragtag opposition and diplomatically it is shielded from the efforts of the global community to bring a halt to the violence.

Without strong action from Washington, the conflict is likely to further escalate as rockets, shells, artillery fire and missiles continue to sail over the borders between Israel and Palestine. Only US President Joe Biden holds the power to pick up a phone and bring the violence to a stand still. 

Without that phone call, residents of Gaza are facing a harrowing future as a militarily superior and diplomatically untouchable Israeli force descents upon them.

Algeria: Hirak Defies Protest Ban To Mark 117th Friday Demonstration

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Algeria: Hirak Defies Protest Ban To Mark 117th Friday Demonstration
Algeria: Hirak Defies Protest Ban To Mark 117th Friday Demonstration

Rabat – Despite an all-out ban on “unauthorized protests,” hundreds of protesters turned out for the 117th Friday protest. Since 2019, the Hirak (movement) has been vocal in its fight for democracy and the end of a military state as Algeria’s current government continues to suppress the rights of its people.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hirak movement was mostly active in online spaces due to health precautions. However, since February 2021, the movement has returned to in-person protests and has been met with a large, often violent, police response. 

The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recently demanded that Algerian authorities “cease all forms of harassment and intimidation.” Additionally, the UN accused the Algerian government of breaking international human rights law by using police force to deny Algerians the right to protest. 

Read also: UN: OHCHR Calls On Algeria to End Unjust Arrests of Hirak Protesters

The UN’s warnings appear to have been ignored in the Presidential palace in Algiers as on Sunday, May 9, the government banned all unauthorized protests. Algeria’s government cited the omnipresent threat of the COVID-19 virus, despite the country only reporting 207 newly detected cases to the WHO over the past 24 hours

The Ministry of Interior threatened those that plan to gather for the weekly protest in a statement. “Failure to comply with these procedures will result in violating the law and the constitution, which denies the legitimacy of the march, and it will be necessary to deal with it on this basis,” said the ministry.

Video footage shows hundreds of protestors facing off against police in riot gear in front of Algiers’ al-Rahma mosque. Police used riot shields to force the crowd through a narrow corridor away from the mosque. 

State media reported that hundreds of protestors were arrested including political leaders such as head of the Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD) party Mohsen Bel Abbas and the National Coordinator of the Social Democratic Movement Party Fathi Grass.

Outside of Algeria’s capital city, members of the Hirak movement protested in smaller cities such as Setif, Bordj Bou Arreridj, Oran, and Mostaganem.

Despite the federal ban on “unauthorized” protest, it is expected that the Hirak protests are likely to continue every Friday until their demands for change are met.

Morocco Celebrates the 65th Anniversary of the Royal Armed Forces

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Morocco Celebrates the 65th Anniversary of the Royal Armed Forces
Morocco Celebrates the 65th Anniversary of the Royal Armed Forces

Rabat – Friday, May 14, 2021 marked the 65th anniversary of the establishment of Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces (FAR). The FAR was established May 14, 1956 under the late King Mohammed V.

The motto of the FAR is “God, Country, King” and its annual celebration commemorates the sacrifices and commitments that Morocco’s armed forces make to ensure safety and stability in the kingdom. 

The FAR was especially active throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as it worked to relieve overcrowded healthcare facilities by building field hospitals and enforcing health precautions implemented by the government. 

Additionally, Morocco’s royal armed forces participated in international aid efforts. 

After the Beirut port explosion in early August 2020, the FAR rapidly set up a Beirut field hospital composed of 150 soldiers, 45 of which were specialized medical professionals from various disciplines. 

Since its installation, the Beirut field hospital has provided 23,167 medical consultations, 431 surgeries, and 6,433 special examinations for those wounded in the blast. 

Other operations include Morocco’s most recent humanitarian aid mission to Lebanon. The kingdom delivered nearly 90 tonnes of food to manage Lebanon’s current state of crisis. 

Read also: Lebanon Receives the Last Batch of Moroccan Humanitarian Aid

Recently, the FAR has been involved with a broad range of military operations in Western Sahara to defend Morocco’s sovereignty over the region from Polisario militants. After Polisario militants blocked a roadway in the southern village of Guergerat (11 km from the Morocco-Mauritania border), the FAR peacefully intervened and cleared the blockade.

In addition to relieving the blockade, the FAR was reported to have eliminated a senior Polisario official with a drone strike in April 2021. This was the first use of a drone for militaristic purposes by Morocco’s royal armed forces since the US-brokered deal in late 2020. 

As tensions are still high and the future of the Western Sahara conflict is uncertain, the FAR maintains a presence in the region to preserve Morocco’s commitment to the UN Security Council’s peacekeeping mission. 

Morocco to Return to Daylight Saving Time Sunday

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Morocco to Return to Daylight Saving Time Sunday
Morocco to Return to Daylight Saving Time Sunday

Rabat – Morocco is set to switch to Daylight Saving Time (DST) on Sunday, May 16 at 2 a.m., a few days after the end of Ramadan.

Wednesday, May 12 was the last day of Ramadan in Morocco. 

Moroccans celebrated the first day of Eid al-Fitr on Thursday, May 13.

Before Ramadan, Morocco turned its clocks back one hour to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), a few days before Ramadan. The measure is customary practice every year in Morocco before Ramadan.

Read Also: Moroccan Minister Claims GMT+1 Causes no Health Issues, Decline to Release Study

Morocco suspends DST for the month of Ramadan because it affects the amount of time spent fasting.

The time change comes in accordance with the Decree N 2-12-126 issued on Jumada I, 1433 (April 18, 2012).

Morocco adopted the DST in 2008 to increase the competitiveness of the national economy through reducing energy consumption and the time difference between the kingdom and its regional and international trading partners, such as France.