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Thousands of Moroccan Tourists Visited Israel Since 2009: Report

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Marrakech- Moroccan tourists are traveling to Israel at a remarkable rate, with over 2239 visiting this year.

The Israeli news channel "I24 NEWS" released these figures on Monday citing a report by the Israël Population and Immigration Authority. The report indicates that the number of Moroccan tourists to Israel has quadrupled since 2009, when the number of Moroccan tourists who visited Israel was only 658.

Despite the suspension of diplomatic relations and the war in Gaza, Israel received thousands of tourists who go through its borders from Arab and Islamic countries, with an estimated 250,000 visiting since 2009. The overwhelming majority of tourists came from Indonesia, Malaysia, Jordan and Egypt. Jordan and Egypt are the only Arab countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel.

According to the same report, the majority of tourists visited Israel for religious reasons in order to pray in the holy places of East Jerusalem (Al Quds), which is under occupation.

While the Israeli authorities consider those who visit Jerusalem as tourists coming to Israel, they are in practice not visiting the Israeli territory legally recognized by the United Nations. Israel's occupation of Jerusalem is illegal according to international law and the majority of tourists visiting the holy places say that their visits don't constitute any recognition of the Israeli occupation of the holy city.

But as pointed by the I24 News, any tourists visiting Jerusalem have go through the Israeli border crossing from Jordan to Israel and through an Israeli military checkpoint from the West Bank into Jerusalem.

The report released by the Israeli authorities does not specify the number of Moroccans who actually visited Israel proper.

Normalization with Israel is a sensitive issue in Morocco, and some members of parliament in the Party of Justice and Development (PJD) have demanded "a quick approval of the law that criminalizes normalization with Israel".

Morocco World News

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