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Morocco, Israel sign landmark security cooperation pact

Morocco Flag 1 Morocco only recently normalized ties with Israel

Wed, 24 Nov 2021 Source: aljazeera.com

Israel and Morocco have signed a landmark agreement that lays the foundation for security cooperation, intelligence sharing, and future arms sales.

The memorandum of understanding between Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and his Moroccan counterpart Abdellatif Loudiyi was signed on Wednesday in Rabat, as part of the first official visit by an Israeli defense minister to one of the Arab states that normalized ties last year.

In a statement, Gantz said that the agreement was “very significant and will allow us to exchange ideas, enter joint projects and enable Israeli military exports here.”

Gantz also met with the Moroccan military chief of staff and was greeted by a color guard of soldiers clad in red tunics, blue slacks, and gleaming gold epaulets.

Israel and Morocco enjoyed low-level diplomatic relations in the 1990s, but Morocco severed them after a Palestinian uprising erupted in 2000. Despite that, the two states have maintained informal relations.

Nearly half a million Israelis claim Moroccan heritage as more than 200,000 immigrated to Israel after the founding of the state in 1948.

Morocco is still home to a small Jewish community, and Rabat has one remaining synagogue, where Gantz will visit at the close of his two-day trip.

In exchange for Morocco normalizing relations with Israel in December 2020, the Trump administration promised to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, a disputed North African territory.

The announcement upset decades of US policy and international consensus that Western Sahara’s status should be settled by a UN referendum.

The Abraham Accords broke a longstanding consensus among Arab states that normalization with Israel only takes place as part of a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Palestinians view the agreements as a betrayal that eroded their leverage with Israel.

Source: aljazeera.com