Israel And Morocco sign Defense Deal

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz signed a defence cooperation agreement with Morocco’s minister in charge of defence administration, Abdellatif Loudiyi during the first public visit to the country by an Israeli defence minister last Wednesday 24.

Before leaving the country, Gantz said his trip had given a boost to “the security of the State of Israel and to its foreign relations.” The document signed is a memorandum of advancing security and military cooperation and makes it easier for Morocco to purchase hi-tech goods from Israel’s defence industry.

Symbolically, this paper means a deepening in the normalisation of Israel and Morocco since last year Abraham Accords were directed by former US President Donald Trump. Back then, in return for recognising Israel, the Trump administration recognised Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

Morocco controls most of Western Sahara and considers the former Spanish colony part of its sovereign territory.

This good relationship between Israel and Morocco and the recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara by the US, has broken ties between Morocco and Algeria. Algeria backs Western Sahara’s Polisario Front independence movement, and in August cut ties citing “hostile actions.”

A top Algerian official, Senate president Salah Goudjil, said Thursday that Gantz’s visit to Morocco had “targeted” his country and that “the enemies are mobilising more and more to undermine Algeria.” Earlier this month, Algiers accused Rabat of killing three Algerian civilians on a desert highway through the Polisario-held area of Western Sahara in a strike on their trucks.

Palestinians have also been affected by this normalisation between Israel and other countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Sudan, and have urged the Arab world to maintain its stand against recognising Israel until it agrees to establish a Palestinian state with its capital in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls Gaza, on Thursday condemned Gantz’s Morocco trip by saying “normalising ties with the occupation is a stab in the back of the Palestinian people that encourages it to go ahead with crimes and violations against Palestinians.”

While in Morocco, Gantz visited a paratrooper unit and met with senior Moroccan defence and intelligence officials, including the military chief of staff, contributing correspondent Barak Ravid from Axios reports.

He also met with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, who arrived back in Morocco on Wednesday after meeting with Secretary of State Tony Blinken in Washington. About this visit, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that they expressed strong support for the new UN envoy for Western Sahara and that Blinken considered Morocco’s autonomy plan for the territory as “serious, credible and realistic.”

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