Tens of thousands rally in support of Palestinians in Morocco as Israel-Hamas war rages

Crowd marches through capital Rabat in solidarity with Gazans, hold placards reading ‘Down with Zionism’ and ‘Hamas is Palestine’

Demonstrators march to express support for Palestinians amid the 2023 Israel-Gaza war, in Rabat, Morocco, on October 15, 2023. (FADEL SENNA/AFP)
Demonstrators march to express support for Palestinians amid the 2023 Israel-Gaza war, in Rabat, Morocco, on October 15, 2023. (FADEL SENNA/AFP)

Tens of thousands protested in Morocco Sunday in support of Palestinians amid the Israel-Gaza war, the biggest demonstration in the North African kingdom since it normalized ties with Israel in 2020.

Crowds stretching for two kilometers (more than a mile) marched through the capital Rabat in the mass rally called by an alliance of Islamist parties and a left-wing coalition.

“The people will liberate Palestine,” demonstrators chanted while others waved huge Palestinian flags, donned keffiyehs and voiced “unconditional support for resistance to the occupation.”

“We apologize to the people of Gaza because we can’t do more than protest,” said university professor Sheherazade Bekkari, 50, who had traveled more than 200 kilometers from Fez with her children to join the protest.

“Down with Zionism,” read some placards, while others declared that “Hamas is Palestine.”

In the eight days since Hamas terrorists murdered more than 1,300 Israelis in a devastating onslaught on southern towns, Israel has responded with an intense bombing campaign that Gaza health officials say has claimed over 2,600 lives, which Israel says is aimed at destroying Hamas’s leadership and military infrastructure.

An IDF soldier stands amid destruction caused by Hamas terrorists in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, near the Gaza border, October 15, 2023. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Israel has warned more than one million northern Gaza residents to flee to the south of the territory ahead of expected ground battles focused in and around Gaza City.

The war erupted after Hamas’s October 7 massacre, which saw at least 1,500 terrorists burst across the border into Israel from the Gaza Strip by land, air and sea, killing over 1,300 people and seizing 150-200 hostages of all ages under the cover of a deluge of thousands of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities.

The vast majority of those killed as gunmen seized border communities were civilians — men, women, children and the elderly. Entire families were executed in their homes, and over 260 were slaughtered at an outdoor festival, many amid horrific acts of brutality by the terrorists, in what US President Joe Biden has highlighted as “the worst massacre of the Jewish people since the Holocaust.”

Some protesters in Morocco stomped on Israeli and American flags, denouncing Washington’s support for Israel.

Other placards denounced “terrorism regardless of its perpetrators.”

The protest, which was punctuated by prayers against “tyranny and oppression,” was the largest in Morocco since it normalized relations with Israel in December 2020 in a US-sponsored deal.

“The people want to abolish normalization” some protesters chanted, while others cried: “Against occupation, against normalization.”

Until now, Morocco’s anti-normalization movement had been able only to mobilize, at most, a few hundred people.

The treaty with Israel has been of great importance to Rabat because it came in exchange for Washington recognizing Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Morocco maintains that the territory, a former Spanish colony under its control, is an integral part of the kingdom.

The Polisario Front, which campaigns for Western Sahara’s independence with the support of Algeria, demands a referendum on self-determination.

Israel and Morocco have strengthened their economic and security cooperation following the deal.

However, Moroccan supporters of normalization had been embarrassed by extreme right-wing parties entering Israel’s government and surging violence in the West Bank over recent months.

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