December 11, 2020: Morocco is latest in the list of nations taking steps to normalise relations with Israel. Morocco is fourth Muslim-majority country to begin normalising relations with Israel. Earlier this year, UAE, Sudan, and Bahrain announced they will begin normalizing relations with Israel. The outgoing US president Mr Donald Trump announced the breakthrough on Twitter on December 10.
“Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to full diplomatic relations – a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East!,” tweeted Mr Trump.
Morocco has agreed to normalise relations with Israel in exchange for the US recognition of its sovereignty over a disputed territory of Western Sahara. As per a statement released by White House, the US will also open a consulate in the Western Sahara territory, in Dakhla.
“Today, I signed a proclamation recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara. Morocco’s serious, credible, and realistic autonomy proposal is the ONLY basis for a just and lasting solution for enduring peace and prosperity!,” tweeted Mr Trump.
Prime Minister of Israel Mr Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Mr Trump and King of Morocco, King Mohammed VI. Israel and Morocco will also have direct flights, tweeted Mr Netanyahu.
In a statement, Mr Netanyahu said, “I want to first thank President Trump for his extraordinary efforts to expand peace, to bring peace to Israel and the peoples of the Middle East. President Trump, the people of Israel and the State of Israel will be forever indebted to you for your magnificent efforts on our behalf. I want to thank, too, the King of Morocco, King Mohammed VI, for taking this historic decision to bring a historic peace between us.”
In August 2020, UAE signed the Abraham Accords Peace Agreement with Israel. With this, UAE became only the third country after Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994) to establish diplomatic relations with Israel. The US played an important role in normalising the relations and the agreement was signed at White House in September 2020. In September 2020, The Kingdom of Bahrain also agreed to normalise the relations with Israel. The Araham accord was extended to include Baharin. Bahrain and UAE were part of Arab League boycott of Israel and supported the state of Palestine and boycotted economic, political, and other relations with Israel. However, with Abraham accords, both UAE and Bahrain have left the Alab League boycott on Israel.
US President Donald Trump announced in October 2020 that Sudan has agreed to begin normalizing its relations with Israel. Both Israel and Sudan began talks on cooperation agreements in agriculture, economy, trade, aviation, migration issues, and other areas as per statement released by White House.
Morocco and Israel do not have formal relations, but have maintained informal relations over the years. Previously, Morocco had attempted establishing diplomatic relationship with Israel in 1994 after Israel-Palestine Oslo Accords, however, the talks fizzled after second Palestinian intifada in 2000. Morocco is home to approximately more than 3000 Jews and almost a million of Jewish families in Israel are of Moroccan descent.