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Moroccans applaud Peres visit cancellation

Civil and human rights groups in Morocco have applauded the government's decision to cancel the planned visit of former Israeli President Shimon Peres to the country. They described the decision as a "victory" for the popular BDS movement, Anadolu has reported. Furthermore, the groups pledged to continue their protests against all of what they called "normalisation with Israel".

The Clinton Global Initiative for the Middle East and North Africa, which is to hold a 3-day conference in Marrakech starting today, Tuesday, has removed Peres from the list of guests. This followed the release on Friday of a joint statement by thirty Moroccan civil and political committees condemning his visit. On the same day, a group of human rights lawyers filed papers demanding the veteran Israeli's arrest for war crimes upon his arrival in the kingdom. The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, also asked Moroccan officials for the infamous politician to be blocked from entering Morocco.

The government in Rabat has not yet issued any official statement about the incident, saying only that the invitation to Peres had been rescinded and he would not be attending the conference. The lack of an official declaration was criticised by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in Morocco. It said that the cancellation was a "success" for the popular BDS movement and the civil society statements issued against the visit.

Responding to popular calls, Morocco suspended its diplomatic relations and closed Israel's liaison offices in Casablanca and Tangiers when the second Palestinian Intifada started in 2000.

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