(Photo credit: Getty)
Dozens of human rights demonstrators marched on 19 July in front of the parliament building in Morocco’s capital Rabat, in protest of the visit of Israeli Chief of Staff, Aviv Kohavi.
Kohavi is leading a security delegation in a visit that is the first of its kind since relations were normalized through signing of the Abraham Accords between Tel Aviv and Rabat in December 2020.
The protests were launched by the National Actions Group for Palestine, who have described the visit of the Chief of Staff of the Israeli army as a “heinous crime through normalization”.
Activists circulated a video on Twitter, showing security forces assaulting the head of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights during a sit-down in front of the Ministry of Interior.
#المغرب| اعتداء قوات الأمن على رئيس الجمعية المغربية لحقوق الإنسان @rhaliaziz خلال وقفة سلمية أمام مقر وزارة الداخلية سلوك عدواني وغير ضروري ولا يمكن تبريره. ينبغي على السلطات الكف عن تقييد النشاط المدني، واحترام حق الأفراد والكيانات في حرية الرأي والتعبير والتجمع السلمي. pic.twitter.com/NHg5FO7Vj4
— المرصد الأورومتوسطي (@EuroMedHRAr) July 19, 2022
These protests also occur as a result of a report published 19 July by Israeli news outlet Haaretz that Morocco had “secret security relations for tens of years,” with Israeli, specifically in reference to their mutual acceptance of tourists from each other.
The newspaper investigated how after the Six Day War, the Mossad operated in at a military outpost in Rabat, allegedly selling French-made military surplus, including artillery and tanks to Morocco over many years.
Haaretz listed the weapons systems that Israel sold to Morocco in recent years as ranging from cyber-attack programs to drones.
Bilateral relations between Rabat and Tel Aviv have improved over recent months, due to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Israel’s defense minister Benny Gantz and his Moroccan counterpart.
It was the first agreement to be signed between the two nations.
The agreement essentially formalized their defense ties, enabling smoother cooperation between their defense establishments, and making it easier for Israel to share intelligence and sell arms to the north African kingdom.
Gantz announced on 7 July that Israeli arms sales have increased since the signing of the Abraham Accords, which saw Tel Aviv set up diplomatic ties with the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco.
Israel has signed more than $3 billion in arms agreements with regional countries since the signing of the controversial Abraham Accords.
Last month, Israel participated for the first time in the African Lion 2022 military drill program, which began on 6 June and ended on 30 June.
The military drill took place in the Tantan region of southern Morocco, approximately 700 kilometers from the country’s capital, Rabat.
The African Lion drills are annual military exercises sponsored by the US military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM), which take place across several different African countries.