Moroccan party drops bill to revoke citizenship from emigrants to Israeli settlements

A Moroccan political party recently withdrew legislation that sought to strip citizens who moved to Jerusalem or Israeli settlements of their citizenship.

The bill was proposed by the head of the Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM), Ilyas El Omari. His centre-left faction is the largest in the opposition.

El Omari announced his intention to propose the legislation days after meeting with Hamas political chief Khaled Mashaal, who was in Rabat late last month for meetings with representatives from the Islamist government.

But an outcry from Morocco’s Jewish community led El Omari to rethink his position. The PAM leader requested a meeting last Thursday with Simon Skira, the secretary-general of the Federation of Moroccan Jews in France who had been among the leaders of the campaign against the legislation.

“I explained to him (El Omari) that there are currently 800,000 people with Moroccan citizenship living in Israel,” Sikra told the Times of Israel in a Thursday phone interview.

The federation leader said that when he confronted El Omari about the clause pertaining to Jerusalem, the PAM chairman said “he had no idea how the city was divided,” and therefore didn’t differentiate between east and west when crafting it. Regarding Moroccan citizens living in the settlements, Sikra said he told El Omari that many do so simply because it is cheaper and they cannot afford to live elsewhere.

Sikra said that El Omari’s response to his concerns was overwhelmingly positive, with the PAM leader agreeing to withdraw the legislation at the end of the meeting.


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