Hamas considers Moroccan journalists’ visit to Israel a ‘crime’

The seven journalists are in the middle of a week-long trip, which was organized by the Foreign Ministry in the hope that they will contribute to more positive coverage of Israel.

November 9, 2016 17:53
2 minute read.
Fawzi Barhoum

HAMAS SPOKESMAN Fawzi Barhoum is carried by Gazans during a celebration in Gaza City.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Hamas has denounced a group of Moroccan journalists who are breaking an Arab world taboo by visiting Israel, saying their trip amounts to a “crime.”

The seven journalists are in the middle of a week-long trip, which was organized by the Foreign Ministry in the hope that they will contribute to more positive coverage of Israel in the Moroccan media. Their itinerary includes briefings by senior ministry officials, ministers and MKs and a visit to Yad Vashem, according to a foreign ministry statement. They are also slated to tour the Gaza border and attend briefings there by senior IDF officers on the challenges facing Israel.

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In a report published on London-based al-Araby al-Jadeed’s website, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said: “In the shadow of the escalation of the crimes of the Israeli enemy and the actions of racist purification against our people, we condemn the visit of a team of Moroccan media persons to the Israeli entity with the goal of normalizing with it and undertaking a campaign of beautifying its image in the Arab media.

“We consider this a crime against our people, and an offense to the feelings of the Arabs and Muslims and lovers of the Palestinian cause and an encouragement of the Israeli entity in its crimes and violations,” he continued.

Many people in Morocco oppose normalization of relations and contact with Israel. The visit coincides with condemnations by Moroccan anti-normalization activists of the raising of an Israeli flag to mark Israeli participation at the UN Global Summit on Climate Change in Marrakesh.

The Foreign Ministry described the journalists as leading figures in the Moroccan media, but a ministry spokeswoman declined to identify them.

 “Although there aren’t official relations, the Foreign Ministry recognizes the importance of Morocco and acts in many ways to present the Israeli reality and the diplomatic challenges that confront us to the Moroccan media personnel in the hope they will explode the many negative myths about Israel presented in Morocco,” the ministry said.

Hassan Kaabia, the ministry’s spokesman for Arabic media, said: “We are very excited that we succeeded in realizing this visit. It follows many months of hard work and comes from the realization that through their visit we can show the reality to the Moroccan public and thereby combat the negative treatment Israel receives in that country.”

But Barhoum stressed that “urgent work is needed to stop all forms of normalization, cooperation and connection with this Israeli entity by any party and to mobilize all the energies of the [Arab] nation to support the justice of the Palestinian cause and to stand behind our people, its rights and [its] principles.”

Al-Araby al-Jadeed reported that there was also social media traffic condemning the visit, not only by Moroccans but also by others in the Arab world.

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