Moroccans demonstrate against Israeli flag

Hundreds in Morocco demonstrate against the Israeli flag being flown at UN climate talks in Marrakesh.

Ben Ariel ,

Israeli flag balloons
Israeli flag balloons

Hundreds of people demonstrated in the Moroccan capital Wednesday against the Israeli flag being flown beside the colors of 195 other countries at UN climate talks in the central city of Marrakesh, AFP reported.

More than 200 people protested outside parliament in Rabat against the Jewish state's flag being hoisted at the COP22 conference that opened Monday.

"The Israeli flag at COP22 means Morocco symbolically recognizing the state of Israel. It's unacceptable," one protester told AFP.

"Death to America, death to Israel!" demonstrators cried, burning the Israeli flag.

Several pro-Palestinian Authority associations took part in the protest after calling on authorities to take action about the flag earlier this week.

On Tuesday, Morocco's Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar responded that "UN meetings around the world welcome all nations" and that the fight against climate change "requires all governments to commit".

Morocco supported the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) unilateral move to gain observer status at the United Nations in 2012, Mezouar said, and is "the first to defend the Palestinian cause".

He denounced what he called "political exploitation" of the climate talks running until November 18.

Morocco and Israel announced the opening of bilateral liaison offices in 1994, but those offices were closed in 2000 due to the wave of violence known as the “Second Intifada”.

There remains a Jewish community in Morocco, though it is not as large as it once was, with only about 3,000 people of the once 250,000-strong Jewish community still living there.

In 2013, a film about Morocco's dwindling Jewish community caused a stir, with around 200 people -- mostly Islamists -- demonstrating against it being shown at the Tangiers film festival, denouncing what they called an attempt to "normalize relations with Israel".