While Israel’s presence at African Lion 2022 was the subject of all speculation, the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces (FAR) confirmed the participation of the Jewish state as an observer country in the largest military exercise in Africa, co-hosted by the Kingdom and the United States.
Asked by JA about the development of relations between Morocco and Israel, the American embassy in Rabat considered that the invitation of Israel by the kingdom constituted an additional step in the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two states.
Since Donald Trump’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara in December 2020, and the subsequent establishment of diplomatic relations between Rabat and Tel Aviv, the question of the extent of these relations has agitated all observers of Moroccan diplomacy. From this point of view, the exchange of embassies between the two countries would be particularly symbolic.
Yair Lapid: “Israel’s absence from the AU is a historical aberration on the way to being resolved”
Morocco set up a liaison office in Tel Aviv as early as February 2021, when Israel opened its own in the Moroccan capital in August of the same year, in Hay Riad, a residential and business district of Rabat. “This morning, with Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, we decided to open embassies in Jerusalem and in Morocco in a few months,” said Yair Lapid, the head of Israeli diplomacy visiting Morocco.
Jerusalem or Tel Aviv?
Since then, several Israeli-Palestinian crises have delayed the implementation of this project, the triumphant announcement of which has not been followed up. During a press briefing on June 15, Yaïr Lapid returned to the charge, indicating that Nasser Bourita would go to Israel during the summer to inaugurate an embassy in good and due form, without specifying whether it will be installed in Jerusalem or Tel. -Aviv. If it has not been contradicted by the Moroccan authorities, the latter have not yet made any comment.
According to our information, Morocco is indeed now on the point of taking action. If the kingdom is still silent on this subject, American diplomacy confirmed to JA, through the voice of the spokesman for the American embassy in Rabat Jerome Sherman, that the two “close allies” of the United States “are progressing towards the transformation of their respective diplomatic liaison offices into full-fledged embassies”. “Strengthening this relationship will create new opportunities for peace and prosperity to flourish in the region,” added Jerome Sherman.
Morocco – Israel: a year that changed everything
According to our colleagues from the Moroccan media LeDesk, Morocco, Israel, the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt announced, on June 27, during a preparatory meeting at Zallaq (Bahrain), the creation of a regional organization, the “Negev Forum”, with a rotating presidency.
Still according to the Moroccan media, Nasser Bourita should then begin a regional tour, notably in Israel, to inaugurate the embassy. While Yaïr Lapid had mentioned the controversial choice of Jerusalem – the official capital of the Jewish state but not recognized as such by many countries – the Moroccan embassy should rather settle in Tel Aviv to avoid any Moroccan diplomacy. further controversy on this sensitive issue.
Since the normalization of their relations, Morocco and Israel have multiplied contacts. On November 24, 2021, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz traveled to Rabat to sign a security cooperation agreement with the Minister Delegate in charge of Moroccan National Defense Administration, Abdellatif Loudiyi. This protocol provides in particular, according to the Israeli side, to “facilitate Morocco’s acquisition of technologies from Israel’s powerful military industry”.
Most recently, on Monday, June 20, 2022, Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked visited Rabat. This is the third official trip by an Israeli minister to Morocco since the signing of the Abraham Accords.
During this visit, Ayelet Shaked said in a press briefing: “My objective, in a month, is to sign a final agreement to bring nurses and construction workers from Morocco to Israel. Relations between the two countries have enormous potential. The Israeli minister also said at another press conference, after meeting Nasser Bourita: “Israel confirms its support for Morocco’s sovereignty over le Sahara. »