Morocco-Israel : Former head of government Abdelilah Benkirane tries to calm PJD activists

The day after the signing of the joint declaration between Morocco, the United States and Israel by head of government Saadeddine El Othmani, criticism has arisen within the Justice and Development Party (PJD). Abdelilah Benkirane tried to calm PJD activists.

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On December 22, head of government Saadeddine El Othmani signed a joint declaration between Morocco, the United States and Israel. The move led to conflicting reactions within El Othmani’s party, Justice and Development (PJD).

In a Facebook live, former head of government Abdelilah Benkirane said he preferred to «let the party and its secretariat react», but felt he had to intervene to calm things down. «No Moroccan would refuse the recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara. But as a political party from the Islamist movement, we are against normalization [with Israel]. Having said that, Morocco knows what it is doing and is moving forward cautiously. The King made a decision, but did not forbid anyone from expressing their opinion», he argued.

The dilemma of defending party and state positions

Abdelilah Benkirane estimated that, as leader of the government, the PJD should, however, support the royal decisions and align itself with them, although «no one would be satisfied» within the political group. 

«We are not giving up on our country in these circumstances», added Benkirane, recalling also that these members themselves chose their secretary general by voting for him. «You were even happy to see him appointed head of government by the King», he recalled. To the former head of government, «we must respect the institutions, set up a national assembly and hear El Othmani on this question. It is only after it that we can make the decision that we find appropriate».

In the meantime, he recalls that the «only position» of the party is to «support the royal position; it is a group which is at the head of the government».

«Being a member of the government means that you are part of the state.This is the right reading of what is happening at the moment : the image of the country is in question, we must not laugh.So stop».

Abdelilah Benkirane

Benkirane believes that the Congress and the National Council are the space «where you can do what you want» as a party. In return, «we cannot put pressure on El Othmani and possibly push him to resign, which would cause a political crisis in the country». To him, «we only have one position today; supporting His Majesty», he insisted.

The former secretary general of the PJD recalled that the two priorities of the party is «our State and our monarchy». He recalled that the formation has «already made great efforts for the sustainability and uniqueness of the party (...) But we are not playing with the interests of the State».

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