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Moroccan Journalist Association condemns media normalisation with Israel

This picture taken on December 11, 2020 in Jerusalem shows Israeli and Palestinian newspapers front page titles about the announcement that Israel is to establish diplomatic relations with Morocco. - Outgoing President Donald Trump's double announcement of a normalisation of ties between Morocco and Israel and US recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara has prompted mixed reactions. In a statement by the royal palace, Morocco's King Mohammed VI confirmed on December 10 that his country would "resume official contacts.... and diplomatic relations with minimal delay" with Israel, two decades after the two countries closed liaison offices. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)
This picture taken on December 11, 2020 in Jerusalem shows Israeli and Palestinian newspapers front page titles about the announcement that Israel is to establish diplomatic relations with Morocco [AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images]

The head of the National Association of the Moroccan Press, Abdullah Al-Bakali, announced his rejection of the visit by a delegation of Moroccan journalists to Israel, considering that "paying the Zionist entity for the travel and accommodation expenses is an insult and humiliation."

Al-Baqali said, in a statement reported on Wednesday by Moroccan media, that "only concealing the visit and announcing it at the last moment reveals its nature."

He added: "It is a shame for journalists, media professionals, intellectuals or the elite to visit the Zionist entity hosted by the Israeli government, which will pay for plane tickets, hotel and others."

He said: "We are not against visiting Palestine to carry out press coverage for the benefit of public opinion, but when the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs pays for travel and accommodation expenses, this falls within the depth of insulting and humiliating Moroccan journalists."

READ: Israeli Defence Minister visits tomb of late Moroccan King, Mohammed V

Al-Baqali concluded his statement by saying: "We reject this visit and these shameful forms of normalisation."

Al-Baqali's statements come after the official Israeli broadcast authority announced that a Moroccan delegation reached Israel last Sunday, after an invitation by the Foreign Ministry of the entity for a 6-day visit, without mentioning the names of delegation members, but it claimed that it was composed of media and representatives of the civil society.

Among the delegation's members, according to a photo circulated on social media, is the former parliamentarian, Naima Farah, a former member of the political bureau of the "Free National Assembly" party, who was a correspondent for the "party" newspaper from Casablanca.

The official in charge of the Israeli Liaison Office in Morocco, David Govrin, said that he received the Moroccan delegation, which included 8 people, before heading to Israel.

Govrin wrote on Twitter: "After an invitation by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a delegation of Moroccan journalists and civil society representatives will visit Israel in the coming days."

READ: Morocco deal 'strategic alliance of knowledge', says Israel official 

He added: "This visit comes to strengthen and entrench cultural, media and social cooperation" between Morocco and the occupation entity.

On the other hand, the "Moroccan Front to Support Palestine and Reject the Normalisation" organised a protest sit-in today, Wednesday, in front of the Parliament building in Rabat, in refusal to the expected visit of the Israeli Minister of Security, Benny Gantz, who headed to Morocco on Tuesday night, and the visit will last for two days.

For his part, the coordinator of the Moroccan Authority for the Support of the Nation's Issues, Abdel Samad Fathi, said that Israel has made Morocco a gateway and crossing for its ambitions in the countries of the Maghreb and in the rest of Africa, as it wants it to wage war by proxy in its alliance axis.

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