Morocco: A Country Divided Over Gaza

As a quorum of Arab leaders convene in Doha today, the world is wondering how their meeting might bring about a cessation of hostilities in Gaza. Yesterday, the news broke that King Mohammed VI of Morocco would not be attending the Doha or any other summit, stating that “they will not do much to help the Palestinian people.”

The View from Fez had more details on the king's absence:

A press release of the king's office said on Wednesday the decision is due to objective reasons and sad considerations relating to the depressing Arab situation, whose deterioration has reached an unprecedented level in the history of Arab joint action.

The mere fact of proposing the convening of an Arab summit now gives rise to squabbling and outbidding tactics, even disputes between Arab countries, the release said, noting that sadly, these secondary disagreements eclipse the vital causes of the Ummah, particularly the Palestinian question, and obscure the very essence of the conflict in the region and play into the hands of the true enemies of the Arab world.

The communiqué notes that this atmosphere of disunity gives the Arab public opinion the impression that there are attempts to secure exclusive leadership of the Arab world or create specific axes or zones of influence, a prospect Morocco has always sought to avoid.

Moroccan blogger Taha Belafrej [fr] also commented on King Mohammed VI's lack of participation, saying:

Dans un communiqué du Cabinet Royal diffusé par la MAP, des explications sont données à cette non participation.

Voici un extrait de ce communiqué:

“Quelle que soit la réalité objective et douloureuse des graves agressions externes, nous nous devons d'être francs avec nous-mêmes et de reconnaître que le problème réside dans le corps arabe lui-même et que, partant, la solution est à trouver, d'abord, chez les arabes eux-mêmes”.

In a statement circulated to the Royal Cabinet by MAP [Maghreb Arab Presse, the state news agency], explanations are given regarding his lack of participation.

Here is an excerpt from this release:

“Whatever the objective reality of the serious and painful external aggression, we must be frank with ourselves and recognize that the problem lies in the Arab body itself and that therefore, the solution must be found, first, among the Arabs themselves.”

Ibn Kafka [fr], in response to the full statement from the Moroccan government (available on MAP's web site in French), states that “any comment is superfluous,” going on to say very little else.

One commenter expresses disappointment in Ibn Kafka's lack of analysis, saying:

Je visite ce blog depuis quelques semaines. Et je suis frappé de ne trouver aucune analyse, aucun rappel historique, aucune approche politique.

De la part d’un juriste, je trouve que cela est bien faible, c’est dommage! Ce n’est pas ainsi que l’on y verra plus clair!

On détestera davantage les juifs, c’est sûr! Sinon, pas grand chose!

Et seule critique …celle de la décision de M6 de ne pas participer à la mascarade organisée par les princes du golfe!

I've been visiting this blog the past few weeks. And I am struck that there is no analysis, no background, no political approach.

From a lawyer, I think this is weak, it is a pity! This is no way to ensure that we will see more clearly!

We hate the Jews more, for sure! Otherwise, not much [has changed]!

And … the only criticism is of M6*'s decision not to participate in the charade organized by the princes of the Gulf!

*M6 is a common abbreviation for King Mohammed VI.

While the debate over the king's decision rages on, other bloggers are simply wondering what Arab governments can do to stop Israel's attacks on Gaza. Abdelilah Boukili is one such blogger.

For the man in the street, there should be military intervention through the borders with Egypt , Jordan and Lebanon to stop Israeli aggression. But this s unrealistic. The Arab countries don’t have an army like NATO with regular common training and a board of command to mount joint military operations. There are the political calculations which make many countries hesitant about this sort of venture.

The Arabs have shown solidarity with the Palestinians through protests, condemnations and the sending of humanitarian aids.

It remains up to the Palestinians to show unity among themselves before asking the rest of the Arab world to unite with them. Differences between them just reinforces division in attitude towards the way their cause should be supported.

Actual Digital [es], in a post entitled “No a la barbarie…The Slaughter Must Stop,” comments that, “Quien quiere hoy borrar Gaza del mapa, mañana será borrado del mapa de Oriente Medio” [“Whoever wants to wipe Gaza away from the map, tomorrow will be wiped from Middle East map”]. The blogger goes on to say:

El infierno de Gaza no para, cuantos muertos y heridos espera Israel ver para anunciar su victoria, ¿quiere Israel borrar Gaza por completo del mapa? Si eso es lo que está haciendo hoy mañana no sabemos lo que les guarda el futuro. Todavía tras la masacre de más de mil personas inocentes y 5 mil heridos una de ellos mujeres y niños quiere continuar sus crímenes, niega al pueblo palestino vivir libre como todo el mundo. Políticos y militares dicen de misma voz “No han conseguido todavía sus objetivos..Desde 60 años dicen lo mismo, y qué son sus objetivos, más palestinos muertos, más masacres, más tragedias y ninguna luz en el horizonte o esperanza de vivir en libertad. ¿Eso es lo quiere Occidente ver?. Donde está esa la Comunidad Internacional, en este momento de dolor palestino parece que solo mueven para proteger sus intereses… y los de sus aliados ¿Por qué no se aplican los mismos standards y las mismas leyes internacionales para todas las naciones y pueblos?

Hell in Gaza doesn't stop: how many deaths and injured does Israel expect to see before they announce their victory? Does Israel want Gaza totally wiped from the map? If that is what they're doing today, tomorrow we don't know what future awaits them. Still, after massacring over 1,000 innocent people and injuring 5,000, women and children among them, Israel wants to go on with their crimes, denying the Palestinian people to live freely like everybody else. Politicians and military call out: “They haven't reached their purpose yet… They have been saying the same thing over 60 years, and what are their objectives: more dead Palestinian, more massacre, more tragedy and no light ahead or hope to live in freedom? Is that what the West wants to see? Where is that International Community, in this moment of Palestinian suffering it seems they come up with something just to protect their own interests… and their allies. Why aren't the same standards and same international laws applied to all nations and people?

The blogger behind Mon Paradis Inanimé remarks upon the fact that the Moroccan public is divided over the conflict:

Au Maroc les avis sont partagés sur cette affaire. J’ai été très étonnée et surprise de voir que des musulmans très pratiquants ne supportaient pas le Hamas : “ce sont des gens qui se servent des civils et qui sont responsables de la mort d’autants d’innocents en Palestine!” disent-ils.

Les jeunes marocains sont aussi divisés et du jour au lendemain une grande majorité des jeunes est devenue religieuse comme par miracle! L’effet médiatique est à son comble. Malheureusement une grande partie des jeunes se laisse emporter par les médias et manque d’esprit critique. Hier encore je fus supprimée de la liste de contacts d’un ami parce que je l’ai décrit comme antisémite et ce parce que je lui ai dit qu’il y a une différence immense entre un juif et un sioniste. Le judaïsme existe depuis des millénaires alors que le sionisme est centenaire. Les sionistes sont des personnes athées qui se sont servies des religions pour leurs profits personnels. Les juifs pratiquants déclarent haut et fort que dans leur livre religieux, la terre palestinienne ne leur appartient pas. Mais ça c’est un autre débat dans lequel je ne souhaite pas entrer. Je ne suis pas religieuse.

In Morocco, opinion is divided on this matter. I was shocked and surprised to see that most Muslims’ practice does not support Hamas: “They are people who use civilians and who are responsible for the deaths of many innocent civilians in Palestine!” they say.

Young Moroccans are also divided, and suddenly, a large majority of young people have become religious as if by miracle! The media effect is at its peak. Unfortunately, many of the young can easily be swayed by the media and their lack of critical thinking. Just yesterday I was removed from the list of a contacts of a friend because [I don't get this part] and because I told him there is a huge difference between a Jew and a Zionist. Judaism has been around for millenia while Zionism is centenary. The Zionists are atheists who have used religion for their personal profit. The Jews say that loud and clear, in their religious book, the Palestinian land does not belong to them. But that's another debate in which I do not wish to enter. I'm not religious

Morocco's Jewish community has also spoken up about the conflict, demonstrating yet another line of division in Moroccan public opinion. From The View from Fez:

The Secretary General of the Foundation for Moroccan Jewish Heritage, Simon Lévy, has denounced the Israeli aggression on Gaza, and called on the international community to intervene to solve the conflict.

“We are horrified by the carnage that can't be justified and which killed around 1,000 people in Gaza,” said Levy in a statement to Moroccan radio station “Rabat Chaîne Inter”.

“It is horrible and this is not the way I see Judaism,” Levy said, voicing hope to establish peace and see a halt of the massacre against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Spanish translation by Gabriela Garcia Calderon Orbe


  • […] Morocco: A Country Divided Over Gaza GlobalVoices Online As a quorum of Arab leaders convene in Doha today, the world is wondering how their meeting might bring about a cessation of hostilities in Gaza. Yesterday, the news broke that King Mohammed VI of Morocco would not be attending the Doha or any other summit, stating that “they will not do much to help the Palestinian people.” […]

  • […] video footage Day 21 of Israeli War On Gaza Israeli Government admits Hamas did not break ceasefire Morocco: A Country Divided Over Gaza Jewish lives are precious, but the lives of Palestinians do not count Reading […]

  • This war is so Ironic because the world feels bad for both camps…Israel has the right (but doing it the right way would help) of protecting themselves…and poor palestinians have had Israel bargin in for years killing civilians just because terrorists use them as shields…it’s all very sad!!!

  • Dear Jillian,

    Two remarks:
    1 -I don’t think for one second that Morocco is divided in any substantial sense over Gaza. If the Hezbollah was the most popular party in Morocco in 2006, Hamas certainly is in January 2009 – not on account of its policies, but as a symbol of steadfast resistance to Israel. That Morocco’s rulers are of another mind on this comes as no surprise.

    What is however correct is the observation that some members or readers of the French-speaking blogoma are closer in their opinions and reactions to the average French than to their compatriots. I therefore think that the title of this post is deeply misleading – it is not as though Morocco was cut in half over its sympathies with the Palestinians or the Israelis. I even doubt that you could reasonably argue that the French-speaking blogoma, as deeply unrepresentative as it is of Moroccan public opinion, is particularly divided over Gaza – make a quantitative study over the posts the last three weeks on, and you’ll find a crushing majority expressing violent outrage at Israel’s war on Gaza.

    Secondly: you missed the conclusion of my post – I referred very pointedly to articles 38 and 41 of the Moroccan Press Code, which prohibit criticism of the King. The rest of my post has to be read against that legal backdrop.

  • Redouane

    Ibn-Kafka is full of it. What type of analysis does he want? If his usual analysis of anti-israel is called analysis I call it sloganism as usual. He thinks he is going political analysis by giving background of the issue. What sort of background does he give in his blog? The usual. The jews are killers and Palestiniens are victims. Anybody can say that. He just sugar coat his usual anti-jewish diatribes as if he is doing a favor for visitors by teaching them a lesson or two. Give me a break. Maybe his blog is a bit subdued.

    But as for his comments other FRench moroccan blogs, the street thug talk, slander and widespread use of outright vulgar language to anyone who does not agree is a common currency of his speudo-elevated half-baked political analysis. If this is political analysis, I would rather listen to Hamas TV. They at least do not try to hide the elevated hatred and sense of arrogance.

  • Redouane

    I am very sorry for the comment above. I need to retract what I have written.

    Ibn-Kafka, please accept my sincere apologies.

    I have mistaken Ibn-Kafka for another person by the name of “Sneaker”.

    I am very sorry.

  • Dear Ibn Kafka,

    You’re right, the title is misleading. I did not intend to say that Moroccans are divided between Israel and Hamas – I’m clear on where Moroccans stand there. I would, however, make the case that they are divided in the best way for the Arab world to handle it (as much of my article reflects); I would also say that the government and public opinion are not in sync.

    I can see now how the title is misleading to an uninformed audience, however.

    I read your post in its entirety; I chose not to include the entire piece as it was the comment someone left on your post that interested me in this case.


  • Redouane: well, I suppose a sneaker would take you by surprise…

    Jillian: yes, no problem about not citing the post, it’s simply that the reason why, as you write, I “state that “any comment is superfluous,” going on to say very little else” is indicated at the end of my post – i.e. the legal prohibition against criticism of the king.

  • Redouane

    @Ibn Kafka,
    My apologies again; I appreciate your cordial understanding.

    @Jillian & Ibn Kafka,
    I feel a need to inject a comment after my blunder above if I may. As an American follower of Moroccan blogorama, the Gaza’s events have certainly galvanized the french speaking blogs visitors and the unusual contributors. I agree that the title of this blog is a bit unrepresentative of the general Moroccan public opinion about the uneven war in Gaza. It is amply recognized that the vast majority of Moroccan fully support the Palestinians in Gaza and have and will show the most outrage against the bombardments and killing of Gaza population as well as the destruction of the infrastructure of Gaza.

    However, one have to ask as to why there is a overwhelming outrage of the war and NO criticism of Hamas policies that have led partially to this situation. I think the question is legitimate. Of course many Moroccans would not think of the question as unfair or would brush it aside as irrelevant to the carnage. They would rather concentrate their discourse and debates on an unrelenting condemnation of the aggressor which sometimes (I believe) goes over board to areas of slanderous religious opinion of Jews and European anti-semitic propaganda of world domination and control and so on.

    I believe that the Moroccan overwhelming support of the Palestinians and Hamas is more emotional that objective. It is a visceral support. A support that is so organic that it would be unfair to label it as non-rational and consequential. Arab-Muslim unity shows its greatest power at the visceral level, however when it comes to analyse what could be learned from this and what to do about it tangebly, everything falls apart. This was amply supported by the inability for Arab heads of states to meet and discuss or show unity. This is the biggest and the strangest dilemma one that needs to be revolved before we can make sense about the Moroccan overwheming support for Gaza. And this applies to all Arab Muslim countries.

    Thank you for your understanding.

  • […] foi: il s’agit de Global Voices qui a publié un post intitulé, de manière très , “Morocco: a country divided over Gaza“, traduit en français sous le titre “Maroc: Un pays divisé sur Gaza“. Le titre […]

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