RABAT, Morocco (AP) – Jared Kushner, senior White House adviser, led a delegation from Israel to Morocco on the first direct flight on Tuesday, as the two countries reached full diplomatic ties under a series of US-brocades earlier this month Had agreed to install. Generalization agreements with Arab countries.
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Kushner oversaw diplomatic pressure, with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco normalizing relations in historic agreements with Israel and bringing them major favors from Washington as well.
As part of the deal, Morocco, home to a small but centuries-old Jewish community and has long welcomed Israeli tourists, gained its American recognition of the disputed region of Western Sahara in 1975., Which is not recognized by the United Nations.
The US decision to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara has drawn criticism from the United Nations as well as American allies in Africa and beyond. African observers have said that it could destabilize the wider region, already struggling against Islamic insurgents and migrant smuggling. Former US Secretary of State James Baker, who served as a UN envoy in Western Sahara, has called it “a surprising return from the principles of international law and diplomacy”.
Israel has traditionally supported the UN position and has not said whether it will join the US in recognizing Morocco’s control over the region.
Kushner was accompanied by National Security Advisor Mir Ben-Shabbat, head of the Israeli delegation. Both men were expected to meet with King Mohammed VI of Morocco and other top officials.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Leora Hat said the delegation was expected to restore several low-level relations between Israel and Morocco in the 1990s and sign several agreements, including cooperation of several flights.
“The goal is to move the relationship from a low level to full diplomatic relations,” he said. He said that there was no concrete timeline for this process.
American International Development and Finance Corporation chief executive Adam Bohler said he expected huge business gains by bringing existing business relationships out in the open.
“We are doing a lot of work looking at investment in Morocco,” he said. “They are a gateway to Africa, they have been a great ally for the United States, they have a great investment climate. So I think you are obviously going to see a multi-billion dollar memo, But some individual investments have also been announced. “
Before the founding of Israel in 1948, Morocco was home to a large Jewish population, many of whose ancestors migrated from Spain and Portugal to North Africa during the Spanish occupation.
Today, thousands of Israeli Jews trace their ancestry to Morocco, and a small community of Jews, estimated at several thousand people, continue to live there.
During the 1990s, Israel and Morocco established low-level diplomatic relations, but after the second Palestinian uprising in 2000, Morocco closed its representative office in Tel Aviv. Nevertheless, the two countries have maintained good back-to-back contacts, with some 30,000 to 50,000 Israelis visiting Morocco every year.
On Tarmac in Israel, Kushner said he hoped the delegation’s visit would “pave the way for another warmer peace between Israel and Morocco,” pointing to the emerging relationship between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
Ben-Shabbat, whose family moved from Morocco to Israel, said that “history is being written before our eyes.”
Israelis of all backgrounds celebrated decades of post-normalization allegations, in which their country was surprised by the Arab world over its still unresolved conflict with the Palestinians. Saudi Arabia, which has close ties with Morocco, has lent its silent support to the accusations of normalization and could go on.
The pact given by Muslims and Jews as the “Abraham Accord” after the biblical patriarch was a major foreign policy feat by the Trump administration. President-Elect Joe Biden has welcomed the agreements, even vowing to pursue various policies in the region, including the return of the US to Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
But all agreements are with countries that are geographically far away from Israel and in the Arab-Israeli conflict if any.
Critics say they came at a steep price. The agreement with the UAE paved the way for the controversial US sale of the F-35 stealth fighter jet For the Gulf country. Sudan was removed from US list of terrorism sponsors, US and international aid needed but paves way to divide Sudan As they negotiate a delicate transition to democracy.
The agreement with Morocco is a major setback for those in Western Sahara who have fought for independence and want a referendum on the future of the region. The former Spanish colony the size of Colorado, which has a population of 350,000 to 500,000, is believed to have offshore oil deposits and mineral resources.
Allegations have also contributed to isolating and weakening Palestinians by destroying the long-standing Arab consensus that Israel should be recognized only in exchange for concessions in the peace process.
The Trump administration has given unprecedented support to Israel, moving the US embassy to fight Jerusalem, abandoning US opposition to the West Bank settlements and recognizing Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, which was called in 1967 Seized from Syria in the war.
The Trump midiator plan, written by Kushner, overshadowed Israel and would have allowed it to hold nearly a third of the entire East Jerusalem and West Bank. Israel seized both territories in the 1967 war, and the Palestinians desired them for their future state – a position with broad international support.
Critics say that American recognition of Israel’s control over the Golan and Moroccan control of the Western Sahara undermines the foundational principle of international law – a ban against seizing territory by force. Proponents say that the accused recognized the reality on the ground and tried to erase the old animosity of the past.
Biden is opposed to annexation and has vowed to adopt an even more nuanced approach to the Middle East’s conflict, including restoring aid to Palestinians and pushing for renewed dialogue.