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Moroccan Islamist groups reject normalizing ties with Israel

Unlike its government coalition partners who backed the deal, it took the PJD two days to react after disagreements emerged between the party’s senior leadership, according to a source close to the matter.

By: Reuters | Rabat | December 13, 2020 11:56:00 am
FILE -- President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, prepare to walk out onto a balcony at the White House in Washington (Doug Mills/The New York Times)

Morocco’s main Islamist groups on Saturday rejected Rabat’s plan to normalize ties with Israel following a deal brokered by the United States.

The religious branch of the co-ruling PJD party, the Unity and Reform Movement (MUR), said in a statement the move was “deplorable” and denounced “all attempts at normalisation and the Zionist infiltration.” The Islamist PJD party was more nuanced, endorsing King Mohammed VI’s actions support for the Palestinian cause while reiterating the party’s “firm position against the Zionist occupation.”

Unlike its government coalition partners who backed the deal, it took the PJD two days to react after disagreements emerged between the party’s senior leadership, according to a source close to the matter.

A core element of the deal brokered by President Donald Trump was U.S. recognition of Morocco’s claim to sovereignty over the Western Sahara. A decades-old territorial dispute has pitted Morocco against the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, which seeks to establish an independent state.

“The United States made an important proclamation that stresses Morocco’s sovereignty over its southern provinces and opens new horizons for strengthening Morocco’s position in international circles. It also further isolates the adversaries of our territorial integrity,” the Islamist party said in a statement.

King Mohammed VI has the last say over major diplomatic decisions.On Friday, Morocco’s outlawed Adl Wal Ihssane, one of the largest opposition groups in the country, said normalisation deals a “stab from the back to the Palestinian cause.”

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