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Arabic press review: Israel to participate in youth conference in Morocco

Meanwhile, Gaza's industrial sector is said to be on the verge of collapse, and a Jordanian MP slams Gulf states for obstructing Amman's influence in Jerusalem
The Mediterranean Young Leaders Forum is scheduled to be held in Essaouira in Morocco in mid-November (Facebook)

Despite protests, Israelis head to Morocco for conference 

Israel will take part in a youth conference in Morocco in mid-November despite popular protests and attempts to block its participation, according to the London-based newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi.

Morocco and Israel have no official relations, but Moroccan activists have exposed frequent steps towards the normalisation of relations in recent years, which the government has denied or remained silent about.

It is expected that Israel will participate in the fifth session of the Mediterranean Young Leaders Forum due to be held in the city of Essaouira from 15 to 17 November.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Morocco campaign said it considers Israeli participation as "blatant normalisation and an attempt to present the occupation state as a normal member participating in a forum in Morocco". It also called on young Moroccan people to boycott the event.

Al-Quds Al-Arabi quoted the BDS Morocco campaign as saying that this is the first time Israel will participate in the forum, although it will be held for the fifth time in the city of Essaouira and be sponsored by the French embassy and the French Institute in Morocco.

News of the Israeli participation comes after a call by the French embassy in Tel Aviv encouraging French-speaking Israelis to register and join the event, according to the campaign.

Gaza's industrial sector 'on verge of collapse'

The private industrial sector in the Gaza Strip is on the verge of collapsing amid the closure of many companies and their shops, thousands of layoffs and a drop in production capacity, according to the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed online newspaper.

Many traders and businessmen have recently been forced to close their facilities to avoid further losses, while some have moved their investments to Arab countries, such as Egypt and Jordan.

Following the economic downturn and declining income, Gaza has become an even more difficult place for its people who have already lived under a siege for more than a decade, the London-based newspaper said, citing recent UN reports.

Wadah Bseiso, head of the Union of Wood Industries, said that companies working in wood are working at only 10 percent of their total capacity as a result of the economic deterioration and weak trade, the paper reported.

Bseiso pointed out that many workshops and factories have been closed as a result of the Israeli wars, the ongoing siege and the prevention of the arrival of raw materials.

More than 250 factories were totally destroyed and 1,100 others were partially damaged during successive Israeli wars, while the total losses amounted to more than $100m, Bseiso told the paper, saying that only seven percent of compensations have been paid out so far.

According to Ahed Abdul Latif, vice-president of the Union of Aluminium Industries, his sector is working at more than 40 percent of its total capacity because Israel has blocked the entry of raw materials, including placing certain items on a list of goods prohibited from entering Gaza under security pretexts, according to the paper.

Gulf states holding Jordan back in Jerusalem 

Jordanian MP Saud Abu Mahfouz has said that Gulf countries are obstructing Jordan's role and influence in Jerusalem and the protection of Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to the Arabi21 website.

In an interview, Abu Mahfouz told Arabi 21 that "some seek to Arabise the holy sites, and this Arabisation will lead to the aspired Judaisation".

The MP did not specify to which Gulf states he was referring, but alleged that they sought to hinder Jordanian influence in Jerusalem and back US President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Abu Mahfouz, an opposition MP, said: "We are with the previously declared Jordanian royal position that even two Jordanians cannot dispute over Jerusalem, and Jordan is doing this on behalf of the nation as a whole."

The undermining of Jordan's role, he said, was another step along a course Trump initiated "by his decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the occupation state, followed by the Knesset's decision of nationalism and the Jewishness of the capital".

Abu Mahfouz also criticised the Jordanian government of not doing enough to support Jerusalem.

"The way the government is dealing with the issue of Jerusalem is similar to the way it is dealing with daily matters. This is very serious in the face of daily incursions by settler groups,” he said.

* Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.