The Crisis In The Middle East

Morocco to normalize ties with Israel


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Middle Easet

Mains level : The gulf and anti-semitism

Morocco has become the fourth Arab nation this year to recognise Israel after interventions by the US.

Must read:

Israel and Morocco

  • After the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, Morocco is the fourth Arab State since August to commit to establishing diplomatic relations with the Jewish State.
  • Morocco and Israel had respectively maintained liaison offices in Tel Aviv and Rabat in the 1990s, before closing them in 2000.
  • Israeli PM Netanyahu anticipated direct flights between the two countries soon.
  • Palestinian officials condemned the agreement, saying it encouraged Israel’s denial of their rights.

For the sake of Western Sahara

  • The White House said the US would recognise Morocco’s claim over Western Sahara as part of the deal with Israel.
  • The US recognised Moroccan sovereignty over the entire Western Sahara territory.
  • A former Spanish colony, it was annexed by Morocco in 1975.
  • Since then it has been the subject of a long-running territorial dispute between Morocco and its indigenous Saharawi people.
  • Morocco says it has always been part of its territory, while the African Union recognizes it as an independent state.
  • A 16-year-long insurgency ended with an UN-brokered truce in 1991 and the promise of a referendum on independence, which has yet to take place.

Ground realities

  • The latest move by the Trump administration will not necessarily have an immediate impact on the ground because the dispute is seen as greater than the whims of the American president.
  • However, Trump’s backing of Morocco’s claim to sovereignty over Western Sahara is a big deal because it diminishes the hope of a people who have aspired for the independence of that territory for decades.
  • The UN is still mandated to oversee a referendum for the independence of Western Sahara – although this hasn’t materialized since 1991.

Why Arab countries are normalizing their ties with Israel?

  • Economics: The Gulf States see opportunities for trade and more. The deal helps the ambitious gulf, who has built themselves into military power as well as a place to do business.
  • Common enemy: The UAE has used its already well-equipped armed forces in Libya and Yemen. But its most serious potential enemy is Iran, just on the other side of the Gulf.
  • For the Iron wall: Normalizing its relations with gulf is a genuine achievement for the Israelis who is a believer in the strategy first described in the 1920s of an “Iron Wall” between the Jewish state and the Arabs.
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