Before 2020, the question of Western Sahara and its sovereignty was at a standstill, only broken by the Polisario Front and its great ally, Algeria. Spain, although not very comfortable, had known how to handle the issue of Western Sahara, staying on the sidelines.
But in August 2020, Donald Trump announced the implementation of the Abraham Accords. A series of treaties that normalized relations between several Arab countries (United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco) that joined Egypt and Jordan in normalizing “friendship” with Tel Aviv.
Within the framework of these agreements and a couple of months later, Trump, taking advantage of his last days as president of the United States, supported Rabat on the Sahara issue and recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the territory.
Yesterday, during the first official visit to Morocco by the president of the Israeli parliament, he considered that his country “must move towards the recognition” of Moroccan sovereignty over the territory of Western Sahara. «I have already said it and I repeat it very clearly as president of the Knesset. Israel must move towards a recognition of the Moroccan Sahara, just as our closest ally the United States did by signing the Abraham Accords.”
A gesture that, however, according to Haizam Amirah Fernandezan analyst at the ElCano Royal Institute, “the Executive would have to take, which is in charge of carrying out foreign policy.”
Amirah Fernández, in a telephone conversation with ABC, gives two keys to the relations between Israel and Morocco: the concessions between the two countries with their territorial issues and the position of Algeria.
Saharawi and Palestinian question
Relations between Rabat and Tel Aviv normalized in 2020, but “there are still no open embassies either in Israel or Morocco or vice versa. Rabat is waiting for Israel’s gesture to recognize its sovereignty in the Sahara,” says the analyst, but Tel Aviv is also waiting for the same thing, with the Palestinian question. “Maybe that gesture towards Israel is to open the embassy in Jerusalem,” says Amirah Fernández.
The question of the Sahara is an absolute priority for Morocco and for this reason, its relations with other countries are marked by this issue. It has been seen with Spain and also with Germany, two countries with which it has had diplomatic disputes on the subject. Similar is the interest of Israel in Palestine, however, Morocco, an Arab country, continues to support the Palestinian cause. Rabat regularly reiterates its commitment to Palestinian rights, and even the King, Mohammed VI, chairs the international committee Al Quds, who works to preserve the “Arab-Muslim character” of Jerusalem.
Military and security collaboration
The collaboration between both countries is above all in defense, security and intelligence. Rabat has purchased advanced drones and other military equipment, as well as cybersecurity products from Israel.
This collaboration was seen a few days ago after a group of Israeli soldiers will actively participate in international maneuvers in Moroccan territory, which is the first time they have joined these exercises. The maneuvers mainly involve Moroccan and US forces and take place in the Moroccan region between May and June 18, according to the dates released by the US Armed Forces Africa Command (AFRICOM).
Another key to the relationship between YoIsrael and Morocco is Algeria. The irruption of Israel in the Maghreb and the rearmament of Morocco “is received by Algeria as a threat,” says the analyst. Algeria “It is also an important issue for Spain, since it is in the front line,” he remarks.
Morocco’s conflict with the Polisario was frozen in 1991 with a UN-backed ceasefire that included a plan for a referendum to resolve the territory’s status. The Algerian-backed Polisario Front calls for an independent state in the Occidental Sahara.
But the rules for the referendum were never agreed and the UN Security Council stopped referring to it as an option in its resolutions, instead calling on the parties to show compromise and work towards a “mutually acceptable solution”.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism