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Moroccan lawyers demand cancelation of normalization agreement with Israel

People carry the Palestinian flag as they protest against the Israel-Morocco normalization agreement in Morocco’s largest city of Casablanca on December 26, 2020. (Photo via Twitter)

A group of lawyers in Morocco have severely censured the Rabat government over its recent agreement to normalize relations with Israel, demanding a reversal of the decision.

On Monday, the lawyers filed a lawsuit at the Supreme Court and requested the annulment of all decisions that envisage the promotion of relations between the North African country and the Tel Aviv regime in political, diplomatic, economic and tourism spheres.

They added that the decisions are against the general regime of Morocco as well as against the Constitution, the United Nations Convention, the principle of international legitimacy and the Vienna conventions.

Israel and Morocco agreed on December 10 to normalize relations in a deal brokered with the help of the outgoing administration of US President Donald Trump, making the North African country the fourth Arab state this year to strike a normalization deal with the regime. The others were the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

Trump sealed the agreement in a phone call with Morocco’s King Mohammed VI. As part of the agreement, the US president agreed to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara region, which has been at the center of a dispute with neighboring Algeria.

The Algerian Foreign Ministry later rejected Trump’s stance, saying the US decision “has no legal effect because it contradicts UN resolutions, especially UN Security Council resolutions on Western Sahara.”

The Algeria-backed and pro-independence Polisario Front has also rejected “in the strongest terms” Trump’s stance on the disputed Western Sahara Desert region, stating that the outgoing US president attempted to give to Morocco “that which does not belong to it.”

The agreement with Israel also drew condemnation from the Palestinians.

Moroccan delegation arrives in Israel

On Sunday night, a three-person Moroccan delegation landed in Israel for the first time to handle logistics ahead of reopening the country’s liaison office in Tel Aviv.

The delegates are also expected to prepare for a high-level delegation to come to Israel at a later date, which is still not determined.

The Moroccan diplomats have meetings scheduled in the Israeli foreign ministry, but their low-key visit does not include any public events or statements.

Also on Monday, Israeli Economy Minister Amir Peretz spoke with his Moroccan counterpart, Minister of Industry, Trade and New Technologies Moulay Hafid Elalamy, to discuss economic cooperation.

Moroccan news site Le360, citing unnamed sources, reported that the country’s national carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM) will begin direct flights to the Israeli-occupied territories in January.

The report added that RAM will fly between Casablanca and Tel Aviv four times a week. Tickets for the five-and-a-half-hour flight will cost a bit more than $400.

El Al, Israel’s major carrier, is expected to announce flights to Casablanca soon as well.

During a “warm and friendly” telephone conversation last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended an invitation for Morocco’s king to visit Israel and the two agreed to continue contacts in order to advance the normalization agreement in the weeks ahead, a statement from the Israeli premier’s office said.

Western Sahara map in Netanyahu’s office sparks fury in Morocco

Meanwhile, Moroccans were angered by a famous map hanging in Netanyahu’s office and seen in the background of a video clip recently released by the Israeli prime minister, which excluded the Sahara Desert.

The Israeli Kan public broadcaster, citing an unnamed Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson, reported on Monday that the map was “old” and would be replaced.

“It will be corrected in the new maps that appear,” the spokesperson told a Moroccan media outlet.

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