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Leader of Morocco's Justice and Development Party freezes his membership in rejection of normalisation

The Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union in session in Rabat, Morocco on 27 Jul 2017 [Jalal Morchidi/Anadolu Agency]
The Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union in session in Rabat, Morocco on 27 Jul 2017 [Jalal Morchidi/Anadolu Agency]

Abdelaziz Aftati, member of the General Secretariat of the Justice and Development Party (leader of the government coalition in Morocco) confirmed that the thinker and deputy, Abouzaid El Mokrie El Idrissi, decided to freeze his membership to the party following the kingdom's decision to normalise relations with Israel.

In December, Rabat resumed official relations with Tel Aviv, in conjunction with the United States' recognition of Morocco's sovereignty over the Sahara region, which has been a matter of a dispute between the Kingdom and the Polisario for decades.

Aftati told Anadolu Agency that "Abouzaid El Mokrie El Idrissi has frozen his membership in the party."

Aftati added: "I think that continuing to cooperate to resolve the issue and confirm the party's position on normalisation is a priority at this point. I do not mean the party's position that rejects normalisation or foreign infiltration, but rather the movement's stance regarding the Zionist project, we cannot escape from that."

He continued: "Everything related to normalisation will fall apart, and the approach of resistance is inevitable, as there is no future for compromise."

Aftati called on his party to clarify its position aligned with "resisting the Zionist project without hesitation."

The party leader explained: "We are part of the Islamic nation, along with the Arab and Muslim peoples, and this nation cannot rise without resisting the Zionists. This is a struggle of existence and we are implicated in it."

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The Justice and Development Party has recently been the target of severe criticism given that its doctrine has been based on rejecting any form of normalisation with Israel, since it was founded in 1967.

Aftati stressed this point saying, "No one in the Justice and Development Party is satisfied with the normalisation decision or can accept it."

Saad Eddin Othmani, secretary-general of the party and head of the Moroccan government, said earlier that signing the agreement to normalise relations with Israel is a part of the responsibilities of the post he holds.

Othmani stressed that the position of his party "has not changed, and we do not accept to bargain on any of the two causes (the Western Sahara and the Palestinian issue). We are not ready to give up either of them."

Rabat claims that its recent move cannot be considered as a normalisation agreement with Israel, but rather a decision to resume official relations that started in 1993 but was suspended in 2002.

Under US auspices, Morocco became the fourth Arab country to agree to normalise relations with Israel in 2020, after the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan.

These developments sparked in Arab circles widespread popular rejection and accusations that the Palestinian cause had been betrayed, especially in light of Israel's continued occupation of Arab lands and the fact that it refuses to allow the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

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