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Moroccan activists call for Shimon Peres’ arrest

A group of rights lawyers have filed a legal complaint demanding the arrest of former Israeli President Shimon Peres – who will visit Morocco on 5 May – for war crimes.

“An urgent arrest warrant is required ahead of Peres’s entry to Morocco on 5 May,” four lawyers – Abdel-Rahman Bin Amr, Abdel-Rahim Al-Gamei, Abdel-Rahim Bin Baraka and Khaled Al-Sufiani – said in a complaint lodged with Morocco’s prosecution authority yesterday.

“Shimon Peres has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity against [Palestinian] civilians,” it added.

Despite having varying degrees of official relations with some Arab countries, Israel is still seen in a negative light by much of the Arab world.

This is largely due to Israel’s heavy-handed treatment of Palestinians and its ongoing occupation of Palestinian land.

Many local rights groups have voiced their rejection of Peres’ upcoming two-day visit to the Moroccan city of Marrakech, in which he is scheduled to attend a conference on the Middle East and North Africa region organised by the New York-based Clinton Foundation.

While it does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, Morocco – which hosts the Arab world’s largest Jewish community – maintains a degree of political and economic contact with Israel on an unofficial level.

In 1989, Morocco’s King Hassan II invited Peres, then Israeli prime minister, to visit Morocco for Arab-Israeli peace talks.

Five years later, Morocco and Israel opened joint liaison offices. However, the offices were closed in 2000 following the eruption of the second Palestinian Intifada.

Peres also visited Morocco in 1993 and 1996 to attend investment conferences.

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