Moroccan Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani
Moroccan Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El OthmaniReuters

Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Dine El Otmani on Sunday rejected any normalization of relations with Israel.

“We refuse any normalization with the Zionist entity because this emboldens it to go further in breaching the rights of the Palestinian people,” El Otmani told his Islamist PJD party, according to Reuters.

The remarks follow the deal between the UAE and Israel to normalize ties.

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”.

Morocco supported the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) unilateral move to gain observer status at the United Nations in 2012.

Earlier this year it was reported that Israel and the US were discussing a deal that would see the US recognize Moroccan sovereignty in the Western Sahara and Morocco take steps to normalize relations with Israel.

El Otmani’s remarks come ahead of a visit to the region by White Adviser Jared Kushner.

During the visit, Kushner and his delegation are expected to congratulate Israel and the UAE on the deal and receive updates from both on progress and the possibilities for the agreements to be signed. They will also use the trip to encourage other Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Oman, to normalize their relations with Israel.

US President Donald Trump said last week he expected Saudi Arabia to join the Israel-UAE deal.

However, a senior member of the Saudi royal family reaffirmed on Friday that the kingdom’s price for normalizing relations with Israel is the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.