PARIS (Aug. 16)
King Hassan II of Morocco, until now the Arab leader who has been least critical of Israel, has said that the explosive situation in the Middle East can be traced to America’s unqualified support for Israel.
In an interview published Wednesday in the French daily Le Monde, Hassan said the underlying obstacle toward peace in the region is Israel’s continued “occupation” of “Arab lands.”
The Moroccan king, long considered one of the most pro-Western of Arab rulers, approved Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s “global proposal,” which called for the withdrawal of “all the occupational forces” in the Middle East.
The Iraqi leader offered to pull his troops out of Kuwait if Israel withdraws from the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Golan Heights, and Syria pulls out of Lebanon.
Hussein’s proposal was categorically reject by both the United States and Israel.
Hassan’s support for the Iraqi president proposal is all the more unusual because Moroccan king cooperated with the Arab League’s decision Friday to dispatch troops to Saudi Arab as part of a multinational force defending desert kingdom.
Hassan has already sent 1,200 soldiers join the American forces, which have been bolstered by Saudi, Egyptian and other Arab troops.
Hussein’s suggestion is “a good proposal” Hassan told Le Monde.
“If it can help bring about even the start of a solution to the Israeli-Arab conflict, I welcome it,” he said.