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Hamas' call for Morocco to end relations with Israel backfires, ignites uproar

Khaled Mashal’s comments seen as incitement against the King, foreign meddling

Moroccan King Mohammed VI, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal (Photo: Moroccan Foreign Ministry; REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon)

Comments by Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, calling on Moroccan citizens to pressure King Mohammed VI to end the country’s relations with Israel, have caused an uproar in the country.

Mashal’s comments came as he took part in a virtual “political festival” in Rabat, an online event organized by a group affiliated with the Moroccan Islamist Justice and Development (PJD) party.

The Hamas leader called on the Moroccan people to “correct their mistakes” and to demand the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador and to cut all ties with the country.

“I am calling on my brothers in Morocco… to turn to the nation’s leadership, for the sake of Morocco's interests and security, with the demand to cut relations, to stop normalization, and to expel the ambassador. To demand to put behind them this issue, which doesn’t fit the character of an honorable country like Morocco,” Mashal said.

“Such a move will convince the West and the US to revise their position,” he added.

While some Moroccans supported these remarks, Mashal’s call to pressure the Moroccan premier was widely seen as incitement of civil strife and an affront against the king.

The Moroccan French-language news site Le360 headlined an article: “Khaled Mashal… the match Hamas wants to use to ignite a civil war in Morocco.”

Moroccan politician Naufal Boamri called Mashal’s comments “Inflammatory and poisonous statements, which constitute a complete disregard for the fact that Morocco has its own diplomatic decisions.”

The Popular Movement Party said Mashal's statement was a “direct incitement to discord and an attempt to impose dictates on an independent state,” according to Morocco World News.

Many Moroccans also expressed their anger online, giving rise to the hashtag “only the King can address Moroccans” which dominated X (formerly Twitter) in Morocco.

Morocco and Israel established full diplomatic relations in 2020 as part of the historic Abraham Accords mediated by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Israel sent the first humanitarian aid team to Morocco following a devastating 6.8 earthquake a little over two months ago that struck near the town of Marrakesh, which ultimately resulted in the deaths of more than 2,900.

In July 2023, Israeli airline Arkia announced the upcoming launch of a new Morocco flight destination, the result of what was then expected to begin expanded bilateral ties in the tourism sector between the two countries.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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