Tens of thousands on the streets of Rabat on October 15, 2023 in solidarity with Palestine. Photo: Democratic Way
Since October 7, various cities in Morocco have witnessed mass vigils and marches condemning the Israeli occupation’s aggression against Gaza. The demonstrators have expressed their strong condemnation of the barbarism of the occupation and the targeting of civilians in Gaza with the support of the United States and Western countries. Protesters are also demanding an end to Morocco’s normalization agreement with Israel and the closure of Israel’s liaison office in Rabat.
The actions come in response to calls launched by the Moroccan Front to Support Palestine and Against Normalization and the National Action Group for Palestine.
One of the largest demonstrations took place on Sunday, October 15, 2023, in the capital, Rabat. Thousands were on the streets of the capital carrying Palestinian flags and photos of the victims of the attacks and chanted slogans such as “Palestine is trust and normalization is betrayal,” and “no to normalization”. Protesters also condemned the occupation’s violations against civilians and expressed support for the Palestinian resistance, with slogans such as: “Hamas is not terrorist, Israel is terrorist,” and “Gaza is a symbol of pride”.
A number of organizations and associations that are part of the Moroccan Front to Support Palestine and Anti-Normalization and the National Action Group for Palestine participated in the mobilization.
Sion Acidon, deputy coordinator of the Moroccan Front to Support Palestine and Anti-Normalization and a Jewish activist, said, “The violations in Gaza are a disgrace to the international community – led by the United Nations – which is content with modest statements, in addition to the United States and Western countries that support the Israeli occupation while ignoring its crimes.”
He expressed at the same time that “overthrowing normalization is our goal in this march, and our means of putting pressure on the occupying entity,” considering that Israel represents the extension of colonial settlement in the 21st century, and warning at the same time of a new crime of ethnic cleansing may occur with the displacement of the residents of the Gaza Strip from their land due to the constant bombing.
These protest demonstrations have continued without interruption to express solidarity with Palestine and intensify the call for the end of normalization. The convening organizations have also called for an intensification of local protests in cities across the country, and called for vigils to be held in front of the French and American embassies and missions, denouncing their position in support of the Israeli aggression.
Students launch national strike in solidarity with Palestine
Universities in Morocco have historically kept pace with the current events in Palestine, and Moroccan students consider the Palestinian issue as a national issue.
On Wednesday, October 18, Moroccan universities went on a general strike accompanied by a comprehensive boycott of theoretical and applied lessons in various colleges and institutes, denouncing the massacres committed by the Israeli occupation forces against civilians in the Gaza Strip.
Thousands of students gathered in vigils and marches that went across colleges and institutes, while others demonstrated in marches outside university walls, raising Palestinian flags and pictures of some of the child victims in Gaza. Israeli flags were also burned in some demonstrations.
Student groups launched the call for general strike in all Moroccan universities to denounce the genocide being committed by the occupation forces, and to demand the expulsion of the head of the Israeli liaison office in Rabat and the severing of relations with Tel Aviv.
Over the past period, student groups and platforms have organized continuous struggles against academic normalization, for example, organizing boycotts of activities with participants from Israel.
Israeli ambassador withdrawn after a wave of protests
After a series of demonstrations and protests in various cities of Morocco, the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a decision to withdraw the ambassador from the country out of what it considered fear of the impact of the situation in Gaza on the integrity of the diplomatic representation in Morocco.
The Israeli ambassador was previously accused of a series of sexual harassment and financial corruption charges, following which Israel was forced to withdraw the ambassador for a certain period in order to investigate him. He returned to his position at a later time.
Among the charges against the ambassador were that he sexually exploited and harassed Moroccan female employees at the embassy, in addition to charges of financial corruption. In response to the serious charges, the ambassador said that “he had a dispute with employees in the office, as a result of which they attempted to distort his image.”
Mobilizations are set to continue in the North African country, as Israel continues to bombard Gaza and its population. As the attacks intensify, so do the demands from the Moroccan people that their government end the highly unpopular normalization agreement with Israel.