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Moroccan PM congratulates Hamas for 'victory' against Israel

Saadeddine Othmani's support for the Palestinians during the recent conflict with Israel followed Morocco and Israel agreeing to normalize relations late last year.
Moroccans demonstrate, calling for an end to violence in Gaza and against the normalization with Israel, in the capital, Rabat, on May 16, 2021.

Morocco’s prime minister congratulated Hamas on its “victory” against Israel following the cease-fire.

Saadeddine Othmani wrote to Hamas’ political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, on Saturday to congratulate him on “the victory achieved by the Palestinian people and their resistance,” the Moroccan news outlet Al Maghrib Today reported. Several Arabic-language and Palestinian media outlet’s also reported Othmani’s remarks to the Gaza-based Palestinian political and military organization.

Israel and Hamas signed a cease-fire last week after 11 days of hostilities that included Hamas rocket fire on Israeli cities and Israeli airstrikes throughout the densely populated Gaza Strip. The conflict began over tensions in disputed Jerusalem.

Othmani’s comments are significant because of the recent improvement in Israel-Morocco relations. The two states agreed to establish full diplomatic relations in December as part of a US-brokered agreement. They previously had semi-official relations in the 1990s, but Morocco severed ties in 2000 during the second intifada. Morocco reopened its liaison office in Israel in February. Israel did the same in Morocco in January.

The Moroccan head of government expressed support for Palestine throughout this month’s conflict to Hamas. On May 12, in the middle of the fighting, Othmani reiterated Morocco’s support for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital in a call with Haniyeh, according to the official Maghreb Arabe Press.

Morocco-Hamas relations are not new. Haniyeh’s predecessor, Khaled Mashaal, visited Morocco in 2018 and met with Othmani.

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