Morocco blocks evacuation of Israeli citizens after spat with UAE

Tourists wait to be repatriated to their countries from Marrakech airport, Morocco (photo credit: YOUSSEF BOUDLAL / REUTERS)

Tourists wait to be repatriated to their countries from Marrakech airport, Morocco
(photo credit: YOUSSEF BOUDLAL / REUTERS)
After agreeing to allow the evacuation of Israeli citizens from the country due to the coronavirus outbreak, Morocco subsequently blocked the evacuation after Israel and the United Arab Emirates agreed to evacuate both their citizens from the country on a joint flight without first consulting with Morocco, according to Army Radio.
The Israelis who are currently stuck in Morocco had previously been expected to return to Israel by the Passover holiday. The UAE had already evacuated 180 of its own citizens, but 74 UAE citizens were still stuck in Morocco. To solve the issue, the UAE contacted Israel and offered to evacuate both its citizens and the Israelis on one flight by the Gulf state, since El Al flights are forbidden from entering Morocco.

Israel agreed to the offer, but Morocco expressed anger at the fact that the UAE and Israel had made such an agreement without first consulting the Moroccan government, and blocked the move. The UAE reportedly attempted similar moves with several other countries, according to Army Radio.
The spat comes amid heightened tensions between Morocco and the UAE as Morocco grows close with Qatar and the UAE is accused of defaming Moroccan royalty.
In the meantime, the Israelis stuck in Morocco are split between hotels in Marrakesh and the Jewish community in Casablanca.
Israel's Foreign Ministry has been working in recent weeks to evacuate Israeli citizens from locations around the world, ranging from Brazil to New Zealand.

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