Moroccan and Israeli tycoons meet in Casablanca to boost cooperation

Moroccan and Israeli tycoons meet in Casablanca to boost cooperation
3 min read
25 May, 2022
In a recorded speech, Israel's president Isaac Herzog labelled the forum a "historic event."
"The partnerships between Morocco and Israel (...) will help us to ensure that (...) Israelis and Palestinians find the path of serenity, coexistence and sharing," said the Moroccan king's adviser. [Getty]

Moroccan and Israeli tycoons meet in Casablanca, another step ahead towards strengthening economic ties between the two countries after normalisation.

Casablanca, the economic capital of Morocco, launched on Monday "Connect to Innovate," a three-day forum aimed at increasing bilateral trade between Tel Aviv and Rabat, notably in the field of technological and innovative solutions. 

Under the auspices of the Israeli and the Moroccan governments, Start-Up Nation Central, a non-profit organisation, and Morocco's Consensus Public Relations (CPR) teamed up with the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) to organise the event.

During the opening ceremony, Moroccan and Israeli parties signed 13 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) linked to the development of innovative solutions to boost economic collaboration between the two countries. 

In a recorded speech, Israel's president Isaac Herzog greeted the attendants as he described the forum as a "historic event."

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The ceremony also witnessed the presence of André Azoulay, the adviser of the Moroccan King Mohammed VI.  

Azoulay stressed, in his speech during the conference, that "the partnerships between Morocco and Israel (...) will help us to ensure that in the Middle East, Israelis and Palestinians find the path of serenity, coexistence and sharing."

The forum is scheduled to conclude today.

Morocco was the fourth Arab country to normalise ties with Israel in 2020 under US auspices. 

Rabat had previously established ties with Tel Aviv right after the signing of the Oslo peace agreement in 1993.

Following the Palestinian uprising (Intifada) in 2000, the kingdom decided to cut off its newly established ties with Israel.

Since then Tel Aviv and Rabat have reportedly kept their corporations under the table amidst the strong anti-Israel feelings among the Moroccan people. 

Their "coming out" late in December 2020 was formalised in a brokered deal with the US that granted Morocco the American recognition of Rabat's sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara. 

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At the time, many Moroccans bitterly accepted the deal, including the pro-Palestine party justice and development (PJD), as a patriotic diplomatic step that served the nation's interests in the Western Sahara conflict against Polisario Front.

However, Israel's recent mounting crimes against Palestinians have revived the anti-normalisation feelings in the Moroccan street, admits David Govrin, the Head of the Israeli Liaison Office in Morocco.

In an interview with Jerusalem Post, a day after the Israel army killed Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, Govrin said that the recent events "made the development of ties [between Morocco and Israel] more difficult."

"The Moroccan public deeply identifies with the Palestinians. It's a sensitive matter," he said.

The Israeli diplomat blamed that on "the fake and twisted" reporting on the events by "Arabic news".

"The public in Morocco gets most of its information in French and Arabic, and a lot of the reports, especially in Arabic, are lies that incite and provoke," he said.