Morocco becomes fourth Arab country to recognise Israel

  • Morocco and Israel have agreed to establish relations.
  • Morocco is the fourth Arab country to establish relations with Israel.
  • The deal was brokered by the United States.
  • Morocco has centuries-old Jewish history.

Morocco and Israel agreed on Thursday to establish relations in a deal brokered with the assistance of the United States.

Morocco is now the fourth Arab country to set aside hostilities with Israel in the past four months.

As part of the deal, the US has decided to recognize Morocco’s claim over the disputed Western Sahara region.

Western Sahara is the subject of a dispute between the Algeria-backed Polisario Front and Morocco, which has been seeking to set up an independent state.

Morocco and Western Sahara. (The Economist)

US President Donald Trump sealed the agreement in a phone call on Thursday with Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.

The King of Morocco, Mohammed VI. (AFP)

“Our two GREAT friends Israel & breakthrough for peace in the Middle East!” Trump tweeted.

The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Bibi Netanyahu, described the deal as “another great light of peace.”

The Polisario Front, an independence movement from Western Sahara, a disputed desert territory, said it “regrets highly” Trump’s decision but will continue its struggle.

The Algeria-backed Polisario Front wants to make Western Sahara, claimed by Morocco, an independent country named the Sahrawi Arab Republic. This is the country’s flag.
Palestinian response.

Palestinian officials reacted angrily to the announcement. Bassam as-Salhi, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, condemned the deal.

In Gaza, the Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem described Morocco’s recognition of Israel as a ‘sin.’ 

Morocco’s Jewish history.
Moroccan Jews at the Great Synagogue of Casablanca, Morocco. (JTA)

Morocco, a nation with centuries of Jewish history, has long been alleged to have established ties with Israel.

Moroccan Jews from the past.

Before Israel’s existence in 1948, Morocco was home to a huge Jewish population, many of whose ancestors migrated to North Africa from Portugal and Spain during the Spanish Inquisition.

Today, more than half a million Israeli Jews trace their ancestry to Morocco, making it one of the state’s largest sectors of Israeli society, and a small fraction of Jews, estimated at several thousand people, continues to reside in Morocco.

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