Israeli and Moroccan defense ministers hold landmark visits

Israeli Defense Minister is meeting with Moroccan Defense Minister in Rabat

Rabat, Morocco-The Israeli Defense Minister met with the Moroccan Defense Minister in Rabat on Wednesday as part of a landmark visit for formal security cooperation between the two countries.

As part of the Abraham agreement mediated by the United States, Israel and Morocco established formal relations last year.

The visit of Benny Gantz is the first official visit by the Israeli Minister of Defense to an Arab country that has established open relations with the aim of further strengthening the defense ties between the two countries.

Gantz met with the Moroccan Defense Minister Abdelatif Ludiyi, and the two are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding to lay the foundation for security cooperation and future arms sales.

Before meeting Lou Diyi, Gantz paid his respects at the tomb of the king’s grandfather Mohammed V.

Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan signed an agreement to normalize relations with Israel in 2020, which is part of the diplomatic agreement facilitated by the Trump administration, the Abraham Agreement.

Israel and Morocco enjoyed low-level diplomatic relations in the 1990s, but after the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising in 2000, Morocco severed relations between the two countries. Despite this, the two countries still maintain informal relations. Nearly half a million Israelis claim to have Moroccan heritage — more than 200,000 people immigrated to Israel after the nation was founded in 1948 — thousands of people visit the country every year.

Morocco is still home to a small Jewish community, and there is one synagogue left in Rabat.

In exchange for the normalization of relations between Morocco and Israel, the Trump administration pledged in December 2020 to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed North African territory of Western Sahara. This statement broke the decades-old U.S. policy and international consensus that the status of Western Sahara should be resolved through a UN referendum.

Since then, the Biden administration has carefully withdrawn this recognition.

The Abraham Agreement broke the long-standing consensus of Arab countries that normalization with Israel is only part of the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Because of this, the Palestinians see these agreements as betrayals, weakening their influence on Israel.

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