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After UAE, Northwest Africa could normalize relations with Israel

Like the United Arab Emirates, “the Sultanate of Oman, Bahrain and Morocco” could also normalize their relations with Israel, sources near the US State Department told the Washington Post.

In the wake of the peace agreement signed on August 13 between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel under the auspices of the United States, the Washington Post reported on August 14, citing State Department officials, that Morocco was also vying to normalize its relations with Tel Aviv.

In February, American and Israeli media reported that Benyamin Netanyahu had tried to win recognition by Washington of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara in return for re-establishing relations between the Shereefian kingdom and Israel.

“The UAE-Israel pact was an ‘icebreaker’”

In the context of Donald Trump’s announcement of the peace agreement between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv, “Jared Kushner [son-in-law of the American President and one of his closest advisers, editor’s note] declared that the UAE pact Israel was an “icebreaker” which he hoped would be followed by similar measures by other Arab countries,” informs the Washington Post, stressing that it did not “specify which Arab countries could be next”.

“But State Department officials said the likely prospects include the Sultanate of Oman [Sudan], Bahrain and Morocco,” the outlet added.

For The Times of Israel, the objective of the Moroccan authorities, if relations are normalized with Tel Aviv, is “to obtain American recognition of its sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara”. The media considers it possible because “the establishment of formal diplomatic relations with Israel could also improve Morocco’s relations with the United States”.

“Western Sahara remains the main cause of Morocco”

In February, in an article published on the American political news site Axios, reporter Barak Ravid, also a journalist for Channel 13, indicated that Benjamin Netanyahu tried to strike a tripartite agreement between the United States, Morocco, and Israel. According to the media, this agreement aims to obtain recognition from Washington of the Moroccan character of Western Sahara in exchange for a “normalization” of relations between Israel and the Shereefian kingdom.

The contacts in question followed a secret meeting between Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and Israeli officials on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September 2018, he said.

Questioned on this controversy by Islamist elected officials of the Justice and Development Party (PJD), Mr. Bourita hammered before the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Chamber of Advisors that “the [Western Sahara, note] remains the first cause of Morocco and not Palestine,” according to the Yabiladi site.

Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords

The head of Moroccan diplomacy also invited the senators “not to be more Palestinian than the Palestinians”, reminding them that they had signed the Oslo accords with the Israelis in September 2013 and that they were continuing their security coordination with the Hebrew state, adds the media.

Earlier, during a press conference in Rabat on “the deal of the century”, Nasser Bourita praised the constructive efforts of the United States for the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nevertheless, he said that “the status of Jerusalem must be preserved” and that the final decision “must be the subject of discussions between the parties in accordance with international law”.

Morocco established diplomatic ties with Israel in 1993 following the signing of the Oslo agreement with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). But these relations were severed by the Shereefian kingdom at the start of the second Intifada in 2000.

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