Morocco normalizing ties with Israel, 4th country to do so under Trump’s Arab peace plan
In return, the U.S. has recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara region.
President Trump announced Thurday that the two nations would restore diplomatic relations, which means the countries would reopen liaison offices in Tel Aviv and Rabat and eventually would open embassies.
The deal will also grant overflight rights and direct flights to and from Israel.
Much of the motivation behind the peace deals is to counter the influence of Iran.
“Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to full diplomatic relations – a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The president then called Morocco’s claim over the Western Sahara a “serious, credible and realistic autonomy proposal” and the “ONLY basis for a just and lasting solution for enduring peace and prosperity!”
The Western Sahara is a desert region formerly under Spanish control, where a decades-long territorial dispute has pitted Morocco against the Algeria-backed Polisario front, which seeks to establish an independent state in the territory.
“Morocco recognized the United States in 1777. It is thus fitting we recognize their sovereignty over the Western Sahara,” Trump tweeted.
Trump finalized the agreement with a phone call with Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, the White House said.
Morocco follows the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan as the fourth country since August to normalize relations with Israel. Saudi Arabia is said to be not far behind in establishing ties with the nation long-entrenched in dispute with its Arab neighbors.
The deal is the result of talks with Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and his chief international negotiator, Avi Berkowitz.
Morocco, a nation with centuries of Jewish history, has long had informal ties with Israel. Before Israel’s establishment in 1948, Morocco was home to a large Jewish population. Today, hundreds of thousands of Israeli Jews trace their lineage to Morocco.