Middle East

Israeli defense minister visits tomb of late Moroccan King Mohammed V

Benny Gantz's Morocco visit condemned by rights groups

Khalid Mejdoup   | 24.11.2021
Israeli defense minister visits tomb of late Moroccan King Mohammed V

RABAT, Morocco

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Wednesday visited the tomb of the late Moroccan King Mohammed V in the capital Rabat.

"The important visit to Morocco begins with a visit to the tomb of Mohammed V in Rabat. I laid a wreath and wrote in the visitors' book,” Gantz posted on Twitter.

The mausoleum contains the tombs of late King Mohammed V and his late son, Hassan II.

Gantz arrived in Morocco late on Tuesday for a two-day official visit, the first such visit by an Israeli defense minister to the North African country.

The Israeli minister will meet with his Moroccan counterpart Abdellatif Loudiyi and Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita during his stay and is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation between Israel and Morocco, according to Israeli media.

Gantz said Tel Aviv and Rabat “will all work together for a better future.”

Mohammed V ruled Morocco between 1927 and 1961. He was succeeded by his son Hassan II until his death in 1999. The country has since been ruled by King Mohammed VI.

Gantz’s visit, however, has drawn condemnations from human rights associations in Morocco.

The Moroccan Authority for the Support of the Nation's Affairs, a local NGO, denounced Gantz’s visit as “a continuation of the humiliating process of normalization with the Zionist entity that has usurped the land of Palestine."

On Dec. 10, 2020, Israel and Morocco announced the resumption of their diplomatic relations after they were suspended in 2002 following the second Palestinian intifada, making Morocco the fourth Arab country to normalize relations with Israel in 2020 after the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Sudan.

Since then, an Israeli embassy has been opened in Morocco during a visit by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to Rabat last August. The Moroccan liaison office in Tel Aviv was also reopened, and a direct flight between the two countries was launched.

* Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar

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