Eight Israeli Parliament members led by Parliament speaker Avraham Burg have arrived in Morocco under tight security and amidst protests for the 107th meeting of the International Parliamentary Union (IPU), which began Sunday. The conference in Marrakesh will continue through March 23.
Moroccan non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have denounced the Israeli visit, with one Muslim group calling on Rabat to ban the Israeli delegation.
"This delegation of Zionists must be banned from trampling over Moroccan territory," said another NGO, the Moroccan Association in Support of the Palestinian Struggle.
"Any normalization with the Jewish state qualifies as support for Zionist crimes against the Palestinian people."
Burg leads the Israeli delegation, which arrived on Saturday and is being protected by both Israeli and Moroccan bodyguards, local officials said Sunday, according to AFP.
Moroccan authorities have stopped the Israeli bodyguards from entering the country with their guns, the Moroccan newspaper Al Jomhour reported. Local authorities could not confirm the claims.
On Friday, protestors denounced the Israeli presence at the parliamentary meeting at a demonstration held at a Marrakesh university, the newspaper added.
The visiting Israeli Parliament Members are scheduled to hold talks outside the IPU, particularly with Raymond Forni, the leader of the French lower house National Assembly, on the situation in the Middle East.
Apart from the conflict in the Middle East, the IPU meeting will focus on Afghanistan, the fight against terrorism, globalization and the Kyoto protocol on climate change. (Albawaba.com)