NEW YORK, Dec. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — American Jewish Committee (AJC) applauded Morocco for its decision to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel. The North African country, a close ally of the United States and home to a Jewish community for more than 2,000 years, becomes the sixth Arab state to normalize relations with Israel – and the fourth since August.
Today’s historic announcement of Moroccan-Israeli ties by President Donald J. Trump was coupled with a U.S. decision to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara region. AJC has long urged international acceptance of a proposal offered by His Majesty King Mohammed VI for limited autonomy in the region, under Moroccan sovereignty.
“Morocco’s announcement is further affirmation of the growing recognition by Arab leaders that establishing relations with Israel will be mutually beneficial,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “We thank the Trump administration for its leadership, and look to other Arab governments to join this positive trend that is transforming the region’s political, economic and security landscape.”
Under the agreement announced today, Morocco and Israel will reopen their liaison offices in Tel Aviv and Rabat, with the intention to open embassies, promote economic cooperation, and establish direct flights between the two countries.
Morocco, home to a Jewish community that once numbered more than 300,000, joins Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan in normalizing ties with Israel. A seventh Arab state, Mauritania, established relations with Israel in 1999 but ended ties in 2010, when the country came under the influence of Iran.
Morocco, which hosted meetings between Israeli and Egyptian negotiators that led to President Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem in 1977, and the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in 1979, has long shown interest in engaging the Jewish state.
Indeed, following the Madrid Peace Conference, Morocco became one of four Arab countries to establish public, though low-level, official ties with Israel by opening liaison offices. However, Morocco shut its office in Tel Aviv in 2000.
AJC delegations led by Jason Isaacson, AJC Chief Policy ad Political Affairs Officer, have been visiting Morocco regularly for decades. “Our engagement with the Kingdom of Morocco, and with our Jewish community and civil society partners there, is a key component of our ongoing outreach to the Arab world, with the aim of advancing mutual understanding and regional peace” said Isaacson during a 2018 visit.
In 2009, King Mohammed VI conferred on Isaacson the honor of Chevalier of the Order of the Throne of the Kingdom of Morocco.
The Conseil des Communautés Israelites du Maroc is one of AJC’s 37 international Jewish communal organization partners.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee