February 4, 2023

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Morocco will only open its embassy to recognize Sahara

In order for the two liaison offices in Rabat and Tel Aviv to act as embassies of Morocco and Israel in both countries, the latter must first officially recognize Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara. According to an American news site, the Kingdom’s diplomacy would have set the condition Axios. Otherwise, the lack of this authorization could put the process on hold until the Moroccan request is satisfied.

Citing four current and former Israeli officials, the outlet reports that Rabat has repeatedly raised the issue in meetings over the past few months. “Whenever the Israelis have raised the issue of raising the level of diplomatic representation, Moroccan officials have demanded Israel’s official recognition of the Sahara,” it said.

Former Israeli officials are openly pleading for recognition

Although some Israeli politicians have supported Morocco’s request in public statements, the Foreign Ministry still maintains an ambiguous position. According to Axios, decision-makers in Israel point out that the request has not yet been finalized, seeing that Rabat may have “used” the pretext of unofficial recognition to “justify the delay in opening the embassy.”

In December 2020, the date for the normalization of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel, the agreement signed with the United States represents Washington’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara. Today, Israeli officials were quoted as saying their new right-wing government “will have no problem recognizing Western Sahara as an integral part of Morocco”, while noting “Netanyahu’s willingness to visit the kingdom in the coming months”.

His Information letter In December 2022, the Abraham Accord Peace Institute, created the day after the conclusion of nominal agreements normalizing relations between Israel and four Arab countries, including Morocco, expressly called for “Israel to officially recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over its Sahara”. According to the company, this is a “necessary step” in the partnership between Rabat and Tel Aviv. In addition to “boosting relations” with the kingdom, the recognition would “also weaken the Polisario Front with the support of Iran and Hezbollah”, it is underlined.

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It was signed in December 2020 by Meir Ben-Shabad, National Security Adviser to the Government of Israel, and David Aronson, Deputy Director for Israel at the Abraham Accords Peace Institute and former Senior Advisor to the Minister of Regional Cooperation. This recognition is important to improving relations, especially since “many countries, including the United States,” have taken the plunge.

Tel Aviv’s half fig, half grape situation

Last June, Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet shook hands while visiting Morocco. said Israel recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara. But then-Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid quickly backtracked on that statement, saying “Moroccan’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara is a positive development.”

A few weeks later, the Israeli Minister of Justice at the time, Gideon Sarr, visited Morocco and declared that the Sahara was an integral part of Morocco. The Israeli Foreign Ministry has again distanced itself from these announcements. The question remains vague, even to the point Threatened to sign contracts Abraham between Morocco and Israel.

Former US President Donald Trump’s adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, confirmed in his memoirs that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “did not want a liaison office, but an Israeli embassy in Morocco”. In time, the proposal was rejected by the head of Moroccan diplomacy, Nasser Bourita, “to the extent of threatening to annul the agreement altogether”.