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Morocco: Justice and Development Party condemns Israeli delegation visit to Rabat

Al Adl Wal Ihssane (Justice and Charity party) spokesman Fathallah Arsalane (R) and Secretary General of the Islamic, Justice and Development Party (PJD), Saadeddine El Othmani (L) attend a march on 15 May 2008 in Rabat marking the 60 year anniversary of Naqba or "catastrophe" that lead to the expulsion or flight of some 760,000 people from what was once Palestine and consequently the birth of the Jewish state of Israel. [ABDELHAK SENNA/AFP via Getty Images]
Al Adl Wal Ihssane (Justice and Charity party) spokesman Fathallah Arsalane (R) and Secretary General of the Islamic, Justice and Development Party (PJD), Saadeddine El Othmani (L) attend a march on 15 May 2008 in Rabat [ABDELHAK SENNA/AFP via Getty Images]

Members of the Justice and Development Party in Rabat have condemned a local leader's reception of an Israeli delegation during a folklore festival organised by the district council with support from the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication.

Moulay Hafid Mustain, a member of Yacoub Al-Mansour District Council in the capital and an affiliate of the party, described the visit as a "desecration" of the "pure land" of the district. The invitation for the Israelis to attend the Taburideh (Horse) Festival and their reception was, he insisted, the fault of one person, and did not represent the whole council.

"Traditional equestrianism is authentic Moroccan heritage," explained Mustain. "It reflects Moroccans' association with horses, and symbolises jihad and defending the sanctities, which Moroccans protect with pride."

He stressed his rejection of any kind of normalisation with the brutal Zionist entity and anyone who represents it in any capacity, due to its violations against the people of Palestine, as well as the repeated attacks against the holy sites, especially Al-Aqsa Mosque. The municipal advisor called on all council members, civil society associations and the honest people of the district to condemn and denounce this reception.

READ: 'Normalisation with Israel is betrayal of Palestine', say Morocco Islamists

Meanwhile, Morocco-Israel normalisation was highlighted by alyaoum24 website which revealed that the Ministry of Higher Education in Rabat has activated the academic cooperation agreements signed with Israel. The first group of Moroccan students have been studying for a term at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. This is the first such cooperation between Israeli and Moroccan universities, under the data science and health system programme, which includes students from around the world.

The Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation, Abdellatif Miraoui, wants to link Moroccan universities with their Israeli counterparts through new agreements. He met the Israeli Minister of Regional Cooperation, Esawi Frej, a few days ago in Rabat to conclude an agreement to allocate scholarships to Moroccan students.

Morocco's Minister of Education signed an agreement in May with the Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology and Space. The agreement aims to expand cooperation between universities and research centres and boost communication between students and researchers.

The agreements signed by Miraoui have already been criticised by university professors. The Moroccan Union of Higher Education and Scientific Research has condemned activities attended by Israelis in Moroccan universities.

During his final days in office, former Minister of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research, Said Amzazi, launched programmes for student exchange and "high school twinning" with institutions in Israel. These were followed by visits of Israeli academics to Moroccan universities, including a professor from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The Israeli Liaison Office announced weeks ago that he visited Morocco to work to consolidate relations between the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Moroccan academia.

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