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Rescue of Israelis from Morocco delayed by UAE pressure

Galei Tzahal’s Jacky Hugi reports that Israel coordinated with Morocco to rescue a group of Israelis who were stuck in the kingdom following the coronavirus crisis to which Morocco agreed in principle, and the Israelis were supposed to spend Passover in Israel, but the operation did nor proceed because of a spat between Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

According to the report, which was featured on the Galei Tzahal morning news edition with Efi Triger, in the midst of the crisis, the UAE rescued 180 of its civilians stranded in Morocco, but another 74 failed to reach the flight. Following this, the UAE turned to Israel and offered to send a plane to Morocco that would take the Israelis and its citizens together.

Israel agreed (Morocco bans EL Al flights directly to it), but Rabat was furious and vetoed the plan, as its government sees an insult in the agreement obtained without them, demanding that Abu Dhabi coordinate the arrangement directly with them, and not with Israel. It turns out that the UAE also offered other countries a joint bailout from Morocco, but encountered a similar veto.

Thus, the Israelis found themselves at the center of a conflict between two Arab states. Morocco is closed, and the Israelis are currently housed in two cities: hotels in Marrakesh at the expense of the government of Morocco, and homes of the Jewish community in Casablanca

The background to the murky relationship between Rabat and Abu Dhabi is the UAE’s ongoing defamation campaign against the Moroccan King, and claims that his rule is under the auspices of the Islamic Movement, and is weak and falling. These are far-fetched allegations, and are probably the reason for the rapprochement between Morocco and Qatar, the regional rival of the UAE.