Israeli diplomat David Saranga cut short a working visit to Morocco by 12 hours
on Sunday after tens of thousands of people took part in a pro-Palestinian
protest in front of the parliament in Rabat where he was attending
Saranga, Israel’s representative at a meeting of the Euro-Med
organization that groups the 27 EU states with Israel, the Palestinian Authority
and eight Arab countries in the region, was escorted out of the parliament at
the end of the meeting and – instead of spending another night in the Moroccan
capital – was taken directly to the airport and put on a flight to
Saranga heads the European Parliament Liaison Department at the
Israeli mission in Brussels. He praised the Moroccan security services for the
way they handled the situation.
Saranga told The Jerusalem Post from
Brussels on Monday that he never felt in danger, and that a ring of police
separated the protesters – waving Palestinian flags and Israeli flags with the
Stars of David replaced by a swastika – from the parliament building.
said this was nothing like the siege of the Israeli embassy in Cairo in
September when six Israeli security guards were rescued from an enraged
Saranga arrived in Morocco on Thursday night, and said that while he
was taking part in meetings in the parliament on Saturday, colleagues told him
there were a few hundred people outside calling for the release of Palestinian
prisoners and protesting his participation in the meeting.
The next day,
while a much larger demonstration was taking place, Saranga was in meetings and
said he had no idea what was happening outside until someone told him about it.
He said he heard the protesters, but could not see them up-close.
said the decision to escort him out of the parliament and to the airport at the
end of the day was made because his picture as Israel’s representative had
appeared in the media, and there was concern for his safety if he stayed another
night in the city. He consulted with the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem and
decided to take an earlier flight to Paris, and to continue on from there to
Saranga said the incident would not impact Israel’s
participation in future Euro-Med meetings, and pointed out that even though
Morocco’s Islamic ruling party boycotted the meeting because of Israel’s
participation, the country hosted it anyway.
Saranga said Moroccan
officials told him the protesters were exercising their democratic right to