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Moroccan hashish suppliers 'boycott Israeli dealers' over Gaza war

Israeli smugglers losing 'tens of millions of shekels' after suppliers in Morocco's Rif mountains withdraw sales in solidarity with Palestinians, says report
This picture taken on 16 September 2022 shows a view of a cannabis field in the village of Azila in Morocco's Ketama region (AFP/Fadel Senna)
Picture taken on 16 September 2022 shows a view of a cannabis field in the village of Azila in Morocco's Ketama region (Fadel Senna/AFP)

Moroccan hashish suppliers are refusing to sell to Israeli dealers in protest against the war in Gaza, according to a report in Israeli media on Friday.

The Israeli news site Mako cited several Israeli drug dealers complaining about the drop-off in trade.

"The hashish dealers in Morocco are not willing to sell us more hashish either directly or through intermediaries," said one dealer.

"They decided that because of the war they are boycotting us. Since the war, we have lost a lot of money. Tens of millions of shekels at least."

The outlet also quoted a Moroccan hashish dealer saying they were refusing to sell to Israelis over the war.

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"Why is it possible for Israelis to make a living selling Moroccan hashish when our Palestinian brothers are suffering from hunger and living in inhumane conditions?" said the supplier based in the Rif Mountains, a hub for hashish growing.

"Go buy it somewhere else. We no longer sell hashish to Israelis - before the war, we did business here with Israelis... merchants came here and made good money, now that's the end of it."

According to the report, Moroccan authorities often turn a blind eye to hashish exports abroad, in exchange for bribes. 

"At best, only a few hundred kilograms of Moroccan hashish reach Israel," an Israeli dealer based in Morocco told Mako, referring to sales before the boycott.

The price of a kilogram of Moroccan hashish can reach 300,000 shekels ($81,172) in Israel, the dealer said. The demand for it in Israel is crazy because it is very high quality, clean and powerful," they added. 

The report stated that before the war, Israeli dealers operating in Morocco smuggled hashish using suitcases loaded onto cars and ferries from Tangier to nearby Spain, where it would then be distributed further afield. 

Moroccans in their thousands have protested against Israel's war on Gaza, which has resulted in nearly 28,000 Palestinians being killed - the majority of whom are women and children. 

The devastating Israeli assault on Gaza came in response to the 7 October Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel that killed 1,139 people and saw over 200 taken as captives back to Gaza.

The military assault has targeted schools and residential areas, and hospitals have been under siege while medical workers and journalists have been killed by Israeli soldiers.

Rabat normalised ties with Israel in 2020, in a deal brokered by former US President Donald Trump's administration. In return, the US unilaterally recognised Morocco's claim of sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara territory. 

The two countries are yet to complete the process of setting up full embassies in each other's countries, but Morocco and Israel have moved closer since normalisation, including by signing a defence cooperation pact.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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