Israel and Morocco normalize relations, but with the issue of the Sahara and Palestine in the air

Before 2020, the issue of Western Sahara and its sovereignty was stalled, and only the Polisario Front and its major ally, Algeria, broke it. Although Spain was not very comfortable, it knew how to deal with the Western Sahara issue, and remained on the sidelines.

But in August 2020, Donald Trump announced the implementation of the Abraham Accords. A series of treaties normalizing relations between several Arab countries (UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco) joined Egypt and Jordan in normalizing “friendship” with Tel Aviv.

Within the framework of these agreements, and two months later, Trump took advantage of his last days as president of the United States, supporting Rabat in the Sahara issue and recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the territory.

Yesterday, during the first official visit of the Speaker of the Israeli Parliament to Morocco, he considered that his country “must move towards recognition” of Moroccan sovereignty over the territory of Western Sahara. “I have already said it and I repeat it very clearly as Speaker of the Knesset. Israel must move towards recognizing the Moroccan Sahara, just as the United States did our closest ally by signing the Abraham Accords.”

gesture, however, according to Haitham Amira Fernandez“The executive branch will have to take over, and it is the responsibility to carry out foreign policy,” said the ElCano Royal Institute analyst.

Amira Fernandez, in a phone conversation with the ABC, offers two pieces of evidence about the relations between Israel and Morocco: the concessions between the two countries on their regional issues and the position of Algeria.

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The issue of the Sahrawis and the Palestinians

The normalization of relations between Rabat and Tel Aviv in 2020, but “there are still no open embassies, whether in Israel or Morocco, or vice versa.” The analyst said that Rabat is waiting for an Israeli gesture to recognize its sovereignty in the desert, but Tel Aviv is waiting for the same with regard to the Palestinian issue. She says Amira Fernandez: “Perhaps this gesture towards Israel is the opening of an embassy in Jerusalem.”

The Sahara issue is an absolute priority for Morocco, which is why its relations with other countries are marked by this issue. It was seen with Spain as well as with Germany, two countries that had diplomatic disputes over this issue. The same is the interest of Israel in Palestine, however, Morocco, which is an Arab country, continues to support it The Palestinian cause. Rabat regularly reiterates its commitment to the rights of the Palestinians, and even King Mohammed VI chairs the international commission Jerusalem , Who works to preserve the “Arab-Islamic character” of Jerusalem.

Military and security cooperation

Cooperation between the two countries is above all in defence, security and intelligence. Rabat has purchased advanced drones and other military equipment, as well as cybersecurity products from Israel.

This cooperation was seen a few days ago after a group of Israeli soldiers actively participated in international maneuvers in Moroccan territory, which is the first time they have joined these exercises. The maneuvers mainly involve Moroccan and American forces and take place in the Moroccan region between May and June 18, according to schedules issued by the US Africa Command (AFRICOM).

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Another key to the relationship between YuIsrael and Morocco is Algeria. The analyst says that Israel’s secession in the Maghreb and the remilitarization of Morocco “are received by Algeria as a threat.” He noted that Algeria “is also an important issue for Spain because it is on the front line.”

Morocco’s conflict with the Polisario was frozen in 1991 by a UN-backed cease-fire that included a plan to hold a referendum to resolve the territory’s status. The Algerian-backed Polisario Front calls for an independent state in Yemen Sahara Occidental.

But the rules for the referendum were never agreed upon and the UN Security Council stopped referring to it as an option in its resolutions, instead calling on the parties to show compromise and work towards a “mutually acceptable solution”.

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