Morocco, Israel agree to normalize relations in deal brokered by U.S.

by Laura Mize · Dec 10th, 2020 3:48 pm

Last Updated Dec 13th, 2020 at 2:27 pm

Morocco became the fourth country to join President Trump's Abraham Accords and normalize relations with Israel, the president announced on Thursday.

To help broker the deal, the United States agreed to a foreign policy shift and will now formally recognize a territory called Western Sahara as belonging to Morocco. Previously, Spain controlled Western Sahara. Aside from the U.S., all Western nations formally recognize Spain as the owner of the territory.

Negotiations to normalize ties between Morocco and Israel began two years ago and recently gained momentum. Trump advisers Avi Berkowitz and Jared Kushner negotiated the deal with Nasser Bourita, Morocco's foreign minister. Israeli officials were supportive of the negotiations.

Trump, Moroccan King Mohammed VI, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may soon take part in a call together. From the 1960s to 2000, Morocco and Israel maintained a covert relationship via the nations' respective intelligence agencies. But Morocco severed it after the second Palestinian revolt against Israeli control of certain territories.

Kushner reports that the recent deal will include both countries operating diplomatic offices in Tel Aviv and Rabat, which will someday give way to embassies; the resumption of direct flights between the two nations; and an effort by both nations to encourage business ties between the two.

Morocco's royal court also reports that Trump, in a recent call with Mohammed, said the U.S. will open a consulate in Western Sahara.


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