The rumors come after Morocco decided not to comment on the recent UAE-Israel normalization agreement.
Citing US State Department officials, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius said Morocco, Oman, and Bahrain are strong candidates for normalization with Israel.
Ignatius made the announcement after the US President’s Senior Adviser, Jared Kushner, hinted at the possibility of countries from the Arab world to soon normalize ties with Israel.
Commenting on the UAE-Israel agreement to normalize relations, Kushner said it will serve as an “icebreaker” for other Arabic-speaking countries to take similar steps.
Kushner did not specify the countries that might be next, but Ignatius claimed that Morocco, Oman, and Bahrain are the strongest candidates.
US President Donald Trump announced the “Abraham Accords” between the UAE and Israel on Thursday, August 13.
According to the agreement, the UAE and Israel will establish diplomatic relations and exchange ambassadors. The agreement makes the UAE the third Arab-speaking country to officially recognize Israel after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
The normalization caused diverse responses in the Middle East and North Africa region. Egypt, Oman, and Bahrain have publicly expressed support for the UAE-Israel deal.
Meanwhile, Palestine, Iran, and Turkey criticized the agreement, dismissing it as a “betrayal” to the Palestinian cause.
Other countries in the region, including Morocco, did not issue any official statement regarding the “historic” agreement, as qualified by the UAE and Israel.
Recurring unsubstantiated allegations
The rumors about normalization between Morocco and Israel are similar to reports that circulated on international media at the start of 2020.
In February, an “exclusive” report by US news outlet Axios claimed Israel was pushing the Trump administration to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. In return, Morocco would normalize its diplomatic ties with Israel.
In the report, Axios said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was hoping for more open diplomatic ties with Rabat.
Morocco, however, did not deny nor confirm the rumors. The kingdom’s official statements continued to pledge support for the Palestinian cause.
The rumors of Morocco-Israel normalization came one week after President Trump unveiled his touted “deal of the century” to solve the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The plan confirms Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the status of Jerusalem as an Israeli capital, leaving Palestinians with a capital on the outskirts of the holy city.
The Palestinian authority rejected the plan because it “contradicts the basics of international law and inalienable Palestinian rights.”
Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement following Trump’s presentation, expressing appreciation to the US for its efforts to end the conflict.
When questioned about the statement in the parliament, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said “any [peace] initiative is positive, but it does not take away the legitimate rights of Palestinians.”
“The Kingdom appreciates the peace efforts made by the administration of US President Donald Trump that talked for the first time about a two-state solution,” the FM said.
Bourita, however, refused to comment on the rumors about the unsubstantiated tripartite deal between Morocco, Israel, and the US, leaving much room for speculations.
Ignatius’ claim should be taken with a grain of salt as he seems to base his reporting on unsubstantiated allegations from a State Department official without taking the time to get a confirmation from any Moroccan official on whether Morocco is considering to normalize its ties with Israel. Ignatius is known in Washington D.C. for being a pro-UAE and Saudi Arabia writer and for echoing their talking points in many of his publications.
There has been a trend among some American journalists in recent months to link Morocco to some Gulf state’s eagerness to normalize their ties with Israel and abandoning the Palestinians’ seven decades-long struggle to exercise their right of self-determination and establish their independent state in accordance with the relevant Security Council resolutions.
In the absence of a confirmation from Morocco, the fact remains the Rabat has repeatedly made clear its steadfast support for the Palestinians and their right to establish their independent state in the territories of the pre June 1967 war with east Jerusalem as its capital.
In his capacity as head of the Al Quds Committee, King Mohammed VI has not relented in reiterating Morocco’s principled for support for the two-state solution. Many Moroccan observers told MWN that there is no indication that Morocco would be willing to follow in the footsteps of the Emiratis.