Almost six months after his deployment to Morocco, Israel’s head of mission is still working from his hotel.
Almost six months after his deployment to Morocco, Israel’s head of mission in this North African country is still working from his hotel, while he is struggling to find premises for his office.
David Govrin was appointed head of Israel’s liaison office in Morocco in January after Rabat normalized relations with Israel at the end of last year, become the fourth Arab country to do so over the next nearly two years. The UAE and Bahrain normalized relations with Israel in September last year, while Sudan followed suit earlier this year.
Prior to that, Egypt and Jordan were the only countries to have signed peace treaties with Israel in 1979 and 1994 respectively.
In exchange, the administration of former US President Donald Trump agreed to recognize Morocco’s claim over the disputed region of Western Sahara.
According to media in Morocco and Israel, residents of the capital Rabat refused to rent to the Israeli envoy.
“The agency hired to find accommodation for Govrin found a suitable residence in a residential complex in an upscale part of Rabat, and Govrin agreed and believed the apartment had the required security measures,” the website reported. local Assahifa last week.
“However, the problem was that the owners flatly refused to rent their properties to the Israeli diplomat as soon as they found out who he was.”
The newspaper quoted a Moroccan source as saying that the same had happened “in other residential complexes in the region”.
Govrin, a former ambassador to Egypt, is still staying at a hotel in Rabat, the newspaper said.
The announcement of the normalization of ties with Israel in December sparked an uproar in Morocco, where several protests were held to denounce the decision.
Morocco responded to the criticism by asserting that the kingdom’s relations with Israel were “already normal”, and that this decision amounted to a “resumption” of relations.
“From our point of view, we are not talking about normalization because relations were already normal. We are talking about [re-formalising] relations between countries to the relations that we had because there were relations all the time. They never stopped, ”Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said in an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper last year.
– Inasse Yaacobi (@inasseyaacobi) July 20, 2014
More recently, thousands of Moroccans marched through cities across the country to denounce the latest 11-day Israeli bombing of the besieged Gaza Strip, with the ruling Justice and Development Party demanding the closure of the Israel Liaison Office. About 250 Palestinians were killed while rockets fired from Gaza killed 12 people in Israel.
Rights groups have criticized Israel for its “disproportionate attack” on Gaza, which has been under Israeli land, sea and air blockade since 2007.
Last month, UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said Israel’s attacks on Gaza could constitute “war crimes” if they turn out to be disproportionate.
The UN rights body has agreed to launch an open international investigation in violations during the 11-day conflict between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza; and in “systematic” abuses in the occupied Palestinian territories and inside Israel.