Morocco could open embassy in Tel Aviv had Israel recognized its sovereignty over Sahara- US media

Morocco could open embassy in Tel Aviv had Israel recognized its sovereignty over Sahara- US media

Morocco plans to upgrade its liaison office in Tel Aviv into an embassy if Israel recognizes its sovereignty over the Sahara, US media Axios said citing unnamed Israeli diplomats.

Morocco restored its diplomatic ties with Israel in late 2020 as part of a deal that included US recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara region.

The Kingdom and Israel re-opened their liaison offices with promises by Moroccan foreign minister Nasser Bourita to visit Tel Aviv and open an embassy, but the visit has yet to be materialized amid vague and conflicting statements by different Israeli ministers that cast doubt over Israel’s position on the conflict.

Last June, former Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked told local media that Israel recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.

But the Israeli Foreign Ministry quickly walked back Shaked’s statement, saying “Morocco’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara is a positive development.”

Several weeks later, Israel’s then-Justice Minister Gideon Saar visited Morocco and said publicly that Western Sahara is part of Morocco. But the Israeli Foreign Ministry once again distanced itself from the statement and reiterated its more nuanced position.

Relatedly, US think tank, Abraham Accord Peace Institute, points out in its December newsletter, published at the beginning of this January, that “”Israel must officially recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over its Sahara,” deeming this recognition as “a necessary step”.

Such recognition is all the more urgent as “many countries, including the United States, have done so”, state the authors of the paper, namely Meir Ben-Shabbat, national security adviser to the State of Israel, at the time of the conclusion of the resumption of relations between Rabat and Tel Aviv, in December 2020, and David Aaronson, Deputy Director for Israel of the Abraham Accords Peace Institute and former Senior Advisor to the Minister for Regional Cooperation.

“On the Israeli side, and in addition to promoting ties with Morocco, this recognition will also weaken the Polisario front, supported by Iran and Hezbollah,” says the Institute.

The Abraham Accords constituted the “beginning of a beautiful friendship” between Morocco and Israel. “Only two years have passed since the ties between the two countries were restored, but it seems that they have never been severed,” the report states, noting that the many opportunities available will bring prosperity and ensure that the peace with Morocco will continue to be an example and a model for all countries in the region.

The institute which surveys the very positive results scored by Moroccan-Israeli cooperation since dec.2020 points out that “it is therefore time to move up a gear and this inevitably involves official recognition of the Moroccanness of the Sahara.” The stakes are immense, the think tank explains: “Morocco and Israel serve as gateways to the Mediterranean Sea, from the west and the east. Israel, Morocco and Sudan can cooperate to provide solutions to the global food crisis, which has been exacerbated after the war in Ukraine. Even though Sudan has the fertile land needed to become an alternative wheat exporter, it lacks the know-how and tools (including fertilizers) to do so. Israel and Morocco can fill the void by providing the necessary levers for such a revolution, the institute says.

The Abraham Accord Peace Institute was set up after the conclusion of the Abraham Accords, sealing the normalization of relations between Israel and four Arab countries, namely the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. This American influential think tank is a non-partisan, non-profit organization, which campaigns for the implementation and expansion of the Abraham peace accords.


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