Despite US pledges of billions of dollars in investment for Palestine and neighboring Arab states as part of a proposed Middle East peace deal, Moroccans say they will not sell out the Palestinian cause for money.
On Saturday, the White House unveiled the economic portion of its back-channel Middle East peace plan known as “deal of the century”, calling for $50 billion in investment for Palestine and neighboring Arab states.
The plan calls for increased infrastructure projects between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with a stated goal to “empower” the Palestinian people.
The plan is expected to be formally released by its architect, White House senior adviser and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, at a US-led economic conference in Bahrain, which is due to open on Tuesday.
“Moroccans will not sell the Palestinian cause despite bargains by some parties and countries,” Osman al-Kebeiri, 25, a university student, told reporters.
“The people of Morocco don’t recognize the ‘deal of the century’,” he said.
Al-Kebeiri believes that the controversial US plan aims to compromise the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.
“The Moroccan people cherish Palestine as their first and foremost cause.”
Shafiqa al-Ismaili, 50, a teacher, echoed a similar criticism of the US peace plan.
“This deal seeks to liquidate the Palestinian cause and force the Palestinian out of their land,” she said.
Several Arab states have officially confirmed their participation in the June 25-26 conference in Bahrain, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Morocco, Egypt and Jordan said they will send low-level ministerial delegations to the event.
Many Moroccans believe that the US peace plan aims to create a fait accompli in Israel-occupied Palestinian land.
“Through this plan, the US and Israel are seeking to impose a solution that is unfavorable to Palestine,” Ibrahim, a 45-year-old worker in Rabat, who did not give his second name, told reporters.
— EQB (@pal_resi) June 25, 2019
On Sunday, thousands of Moroccans demonstrated in a mass rally called by several NGOs in Rabat against the “deal of the century” and the US-led conference in Bahrain.
Waving Palestinian flags, demonstrators chanted slogans in support of the Palestinian people and in rejection of the US peace plan.
“The Moroccan people fully stand by Palestine,” Souad Azkerawi, 60, told reporters.
The “deal of the century” has yet to be revealed in full, however, based on leaks in the media, it envisages to make major concessions to Israel regarding the status of Jerusalem city and also regarding right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine.
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the decades-long Middle East dispute, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem – occupied by Israel since 1967 – might one day serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.
The Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority said they will not be attending the conference in Bahrain and have rejected any US role in the mediating process ever since Trump’s controversial recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk