Israel has asked Morocco to extradite one of its citizens, Nassim Khalibat, an Israeli Arab, wanted in connection with a bombing of a Health Ministry facility in Nazareth in 2021.
This is indeed the first time that such an extradition request has been sent to the Kingdom by the Jewish state. At least since the signing of the Abraham Accords. Last August, during the visit to Morocco, the Israeli police chief Kobi Shabtai (about to resign), had apparently concluded with his Moroccan counterpart several agreements within the framework of security cooperation. The provisions concerning extradition treaties would have just been addressed without further ado.
Nassim Khalibat escaped from Israel in March 2022. Nine months later, last January, he was arrested in Rabat. This prompted Israel to make an extradition request, despite the fact that there is no agreement to this effect between Israel and Morocco.
A judge reportedly ruled in favor of the extradition, but the Moroccan justice ministry has so far not signed any extradition order, reported the English-language Israeli electronic newspaper “ynetnews.com“.
The outlet also reports that according to the formal extradition request submitted by the Israeli Justice Ministry, Nassim Khalibat, a 21-year-old resident of the Bedouin town of Basmat Tab’un, together with his brother and another relative, had explode a deflagrating device not to say explosive at the Ministry of Health in Nazareth on November 8, 2021.
The exact motive remains unclear, as initial investigation by the Shin Bet or Shabak (Israel’s internal security service) had suggested that it might be a dispute rather than an Arab-Israeli issue. While Khalibat managed to flee the country, the other two suspects were apprehended and are currently on trial in the Nazareth District Court.
Despite Khalibat’s declarations of innocence and his request to be tried in Israel, he is still being held in a prison on the outskirts of Salé, in El Arjat. He complained about the harsh conditions he faces and has not received a visit from the Israeli consular services. In addition, Khalibat says he has health problems and endures difficult prison conditions.
For the time being, nothing has filtered from the side of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding this information, believes “ynetnews.com“. Khalibat’s family, and his lawyer Nick Kaufman, are concerned about the delay in the extradition process. This process remains rather ambiguous. Indeed, extraditions must be subject to formal procedures based on international agreements and national laws.
But given that Morocco and Israel do not yet have anything in this direction, the return of Khalibat to the Israeli authorities may not be done. In our memories, to support this, the case of Golan Avitan and Moshe Beit Adah also known as Chico, accused of involvement in the file of the network of naturalization of Israeli citizens to obtain Moroccan nationality, were not extradited.
Some had assumed that it was at the request of the Jewish state. It was just a pipe, the Interpol office in Rabat had not received any request from a judicial or foreign security authority.