Middle east

Morocco Could Become Next Arab Country to Normalise Relations With Israel, Report Suggests

Since its creation after the Second World War out of the British-controlled Palestinian Mandate, Israel has received little to no recognition from the Arab world, including refusals to recognise international travel.

Morocco could become one of the next Arab states to normalize diplomatic ties with Israel, following an agreement between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Tel Aviv that was established last week, an Israeli report claimed on Friday.

Quoting anonymous US officials, the Kan public broadcaster said Morocco is seen as a probable candidate due to existing tourism and trading relations with Israel. The report also highlighted protections in place for the Jewish community in the north African, Arab majority country.

The report also suggested that establishing formal diplomatic ties with Israel could benefit Morocco-US relations. In exchange for the move, Rabat would seek US recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara – initially occupied and later annexed following the Spanish withdrawal from the region in 1975.

Another report in February by Channel 13 news said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to organise an agreement between the three countries, making requests to Washington to support a deal not yet agreed to by the Trump administration.

Despite not maintaining formal relations, Morocco has reportedly kept close intelligence ties with Israel and is an ally of the United States. Morocco has hosted Israeli leaders, and Israelis can freely travel to the country. 

Bahrain and Oman have also been highlighted as countries that could follow the UAE example in building relations with Israel. Both Gulf states praised Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi’s decision to formally establish ties.

The move came on Thursday afternoon, where both sides “agreed to the full normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE”, in a joint statement with the US that was released by President Donald Trump.

Netanyahu said on Thursday that Tel Aviv had entered a “new era of Israeli relations with the Arab world”, and that deals with other Arab countries could follow.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a senior adviser, on the same day asserted that Arab countries would soon announce their intention to build formal ties with Israel as well, and said on Friday that recognition between Israel and Saudi Arabia was inevitable.

According to the Thursday announcement, Israel agreed to halt plans to extend its sovereignty over additional parts of the West Bank. However, the Prime Minister said that his plan to establish more Israeli sovereignty in the Palestinian territory – with US support – remained his intention and suggested that he had only been asked by Trump to temporarily shelve the seizure of new regions in the disputed area.

In the coming weeks, Israeli and UAE representatives will meet to sign bilateral agreements regarding specifics over direct flights, investment, tourism, and security in establishing reciprocal embassies.

The UAE-Israel deal is the third agreement that Israel has made establishing relations with an Arab country, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

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