Reports of a possible rapprochement between Morocco and Israel continue to circulate as sources point to Morocco's Western Sahara diplomacy.
Rabat – Israel is poised to use its “close relations” with the Trump administration to secure more overt US support for Morocco’s position on Western Sahara, according to Israeli and US sources quoted in a report by US media outlet Axios.
Discussion on a deal between the US and Israel is ongoing, with Netanyahu’s government urging Trump to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, according to the same report.
Axios’ sources speculated that the deal would see Morocco normalizing relations with Israel. The idea is that in return for brokering a “breakthrough” in the US’s usual stance on Western Sahara, Israel hopes for more open diplomatic ties with Rabat.
The Moroccan government continues to deny any diplomatic ties with Israel with continues to issue statements pledging its support for the Palestinian cause.
In recent years, Morocco has encouraged a two-state solution as the basis to end the Israeli Palestinian conflict, within the pre-June 1967 borders and in accordance with the UN Security Council’s resolutions on the conflict.
Morocco has repeatedly supported efforts to help find a solution to the conflict, reminding the international community that it will only back a solution that would satisfy the aspirations of Palestinian rights to live in dignity in an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The news of Isreali lobbying Washington in favor of Morocco comes in a politically charged context.
Last week, President Trump and Israel’s Netanyahu presented Washington’s “deal of the century” at a joint press conference. Trump’s plan not well received, however.
Meanwhile, the framing of Morocco’s response to Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict raised eyebrows. Many political observers have said that Morocco’s reaction, while diplomatic and carefully crafted to please both Washington and Palestinians, was at odds with its usual unerring support for the Palestinians’s “right to return.”
Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press statement following the speech of Trump, expressing satisfaction and thanks to the US for its efforts to end the conflict.
The statement said Morocco stands behind the legitimate rights of Palestinians and will examine Trump’s deal “carefully.”
The deal’s content, however, speaks for itself as it says that Jerusalem should remain an “undivided” capital for Israel.
In this, the deal goes against all international legal texts agreed upon by the international community against Israeli occupation.
Axios sources alleged that Israel’s motive is to lay ground for Netanyahu to visit Morocco.
Israeli news outlets expressed enthusiasm after the US administration announced the visit of Secretary of State Mike Pomepo to Morocco in December 2019 for a working visit. Following the announcement, several Israeli news outlets said that Netanyahu hoped to join Pompeo on his visit.
King Mohammed VI, however, reportedly rejected the idea, an Israeli TV channel reported in December.
Moroccan and international political observers shared concerns about potential frozen diplomatic relations between Morocco and the US after Trump’s inauguration.
The two countries, however, have been examining means to strengthen and boost their diplomatic relations in recent years.
The relationship was also crowned with the official visit of Ivanka Trump, daughter and advisor to the US President, to Morocco.
The visit was only months after the visit of Ivanka’s husband and one of the architects of the peace plan, Jared Kushner, who met with King Mohammed VI to discuss bilateral ties.
Traditionally, Morocco—through its spokesperson or diplomatic channels—denies or confirms news regarding rumors related to politics and diplomacy. It remains to be seen whether Morocco will deny the exclusive scoop from the US and Israeli sources quoted by the US media.