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After criticizing the move, Morocco’s labor Minister defends «resumption of ties» with Israel

After he openly criticized normalization of relations with Israel a few weeks ago, Mohamed Amekraz now defends the «resumption of relations» between Rabat and Tel Aviv, referring to the importance of the Sahara issue.

Morocco's minister of employment Mohamed Amekraz. / DR
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After his interview with a Hezbollah-affiliated channel in December on the resumption of diplomatic ties between Morocco and Israel, Morocco's Minister of Employment Mohamed Amekraz is making headlines again. After he criticized the step, the minister made a U-turn, stating that «resuming ties with Israel» is a «national position» because the Sahara issue is «above everything».

Asked on normalization by Arabic Post, the minister referred to the Sahara issue. «Morocco’s national interest is more important than any other considerations, including the party (Justice and Development Party PJD)», he said.

To him, «those who currently criticize PJD, are unaware of how important the Sahara issue is for Moroccans». «When the Justice and Development Party considers, while in a position of responsibility, all these things (American recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara), it is certain that it will give priority to this interest», he explained.

Mohamed Amekraz thus considered that the PJD «has shown that it takes difficult positions in difficult stages and moments» and that it «has put the interest of the nation before its own».

Amekraz and the PJD make a U-turn

Describing his political formation as a «party of institutions», the minister and general secretary of youth wing of the PJD quickly brushed aside a question about the dissatisfaction of some party leaders with normalization with Israel, to the point of freezing their membership. «Debate and disagreements (within the PJD) take place constantly, which makes it a lively party and clear in its choices», he said.

This U-turn in Amekraz’s position is surprising. «My statements (on normalization) express the position of the youth of the PJD. It is an honorable position which goes hand in hand with the national position on this question», replied Mohamed Amekraz during an interview on France 24, three days after his remarks made on a channel close to Hezbollah. 

A media choice which was criticized but which the minister defended, explaining that this channel «has a special audience that does not watch Moroccan media».

On Al Mayadeen, three days earlier, Amekraz had said that «Moroccans were surprised by the decision to normalize relations with Israel». «All Moroccans see the Palestinian question as a question of injustice», he insisted.

Later, the party became at the forefront of normalization between Morocco and Israel, during the signing of the Joint Declaration between Morocco, the United States and Israel on December 23. An embarrassing position for the political formation whose secretary general affirmed, until last August, the opposition of the PJD to «any peace agreement» with the Hebrew state.

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