In Morocco, the Islamists were severely criticized by the Royal Palace, this Monday March 13th. The reason for the Royal Outburst ? : “irresponsible excesses and dangerous approximations” with regards to Moroccan-Israeli relations.
This is the first time in Morocco’s history that the royal palace has issued a statement to a political party. Indeed, the royal cabinet accuses the Islamist party PJD (Party of Justice and Development) of “instrumentalizing the foreign policy of the Kingdom,” an act described as “dangerous and an unacceptable precedent,” reads the statement issued on Monday, March 13. The Palace recalls the strong attachment of King Mohammed VI to the Palestinian cause which is, according to Rabat, “one of the priorities of the foreign policy of the Cherifian sovereign“, both Commander of the Faithful (Amir Al-Mouminine) and Chairman of the Al-Quds Committee.
Moroccan Islamists in turmoil
The resumption of diplomatic relations with Israel, home to nearly 700,000 Moroccan Jews, is a subject that clearly disturbs the Islamists, whose Secretary General, Abdelilah Benkirane, recently accused Moroccan diplomatic chief Nasser Bourita of defending what he considers to be “a Zionist entity” in meetings with African and European officials.
At the highest level of the state, the words of the leader of the PJD party do not pass. And for proof, the unequivocal message sent by the royal palace to the entire Moroccan political class and in particular to the Islamists: “the Kingdom’s international relations cannot be the object of blackmail by anyone and for any consideration whatsoever. Thus, Rabat warns against the game of ambiguity guided by partisan agendas and recalls that the restoration of relations between Morocco and Israel was above all a state decision, intervened in a particular context, including the recognition of the sovereignty of Morocco over its southern provinces by former U.S. President Donald Trump.
In addition to the royal cabinet communiqué of December 10, 2020 and the telephone conversation between the King of Morocco and the Palestinian President, these relations are also framed by the tripartite declaration of December 22, 2020, signed before the sovereign and initialed, on the Moroccan side by the former Head of the Executive of Islamist ideology, Saad Eddine El Otmani, who himself expressed his satisfaction with what represents this “historic victory” for the territorial integrity of the country, without mentioning the reactivation of relations between Morocco and Israel. The Islamists who were in power at the time had no choice but to rally to the country’s official position.
It should be noted that Morocco already had diplomatic relations with Israel, which were broken off in the early 2000s. A subject that is among the disputes between the two brothers enemies of the Maghreb. Indeed, Algeria, which decided unilaterally to break its relations with the Cherifian Kingdom, is in complete disagreement with the latter, on several issues: not only that of the Sahara, but also that of the Abrahamic agreements.
Beyond the relations between Rabat and Tel Aviv, the Kingdom’s foreign policy is the prerogative of the King, which he exercises, under the constitution, “in accordance with national constants and the supreme interests of the country, and at the top of them the issue of territorial integrity,” as emphasized in the statement of the Royal Cabinet, which clearly calls for prioritizing the national interest over all other considerations.
The reaction of the Islamists was not long in coming. In the wake of this, the Moroccan press echoed the decision of the PJD’s general secretariat to prohibit members from commenting on the matter until the party’s meeting to discuss the issue.
As a reminder, Morocco has consistently emphasized its commitment to the realization of the two-state solution with the creation of a Palestinian state within the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.