Trump announces Israel-Morocco to normalise relations


“Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to full diplomatic relations – a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East!” Trump tweeted.

The US will recognise Morocco’s claim over Western Sahara, the former Spanish territory in North Africa where a long-running dispute has confounded international negotiators for decades. Trump noted that Morocco had been the first country to recognise the United States as an independent nation just a year after the US declared its independence from Britain in 1776.

“It is thus fitting we recognise their sovereignty over the Western Sahara,” Trump said.

The deal is the result of talks conducted by the President’s senior adviser, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and his chief international negotiator, Avi Berkowitz. “This is a significant step forward for the people of Israel and Morocco. It further enhances Israel’s security, while creating opportunities for Morocco and Israel to deepen their economic ties and improve the lives of their people,” Kushner said.

Morocco is the fourth Arab nation to recognise Israel as the Trump administration seeks to expand a diplomatic framework that began over the summer with an agreement between the Jewish state and the United Arab Emirates.

Bahrain and Sudan have followed suit and administration officials have also been trying to bring Saudi Arabia into the grouping.

“The President reaffirmed his support for Morocco’s serious, credible, and realistic autonomy proposal as the only basis for a just and lasting solution to the dispute over the Western Sahara territory and as such the president recognised Moroccan sovereignty over the entire Western Sahara territory,” the White House said.

All these countries are geographically far removed from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, making it easier to strike deals with Israel and the US for their own particular interests. Morocco also has close ties with Saudi Arabia, which has given its tacit support to the normalisation process with Israel, even at a time when peacemaking with the Palestinians is at a standstill.

Morocco, a country with centuries of Jewish history, has long been rumoured to be ready to establish ties with Israel.

Before Israel’s establishment in 1948, Morocco was home to a large Jewish population, many of whose ancestors migrated to North Africa from Spain and Portugal during the Spanish Inquisition. Today, hundreds of thousands of Israeli Jews trace their lineage to Morocco, making it one of the country’s largest sectors of Israeli society. A small community of Jews, estimated at several thousand people, continues to live in Morocco.

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Morocco has for years had informal ties with Israel. They established low-level diplomatic relations during the 1990s following Israel’s interim peace accords with the Palestinians, but those ties were suspended after the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000.

Since then, the informal ties have continued, and an estimated 50,000 Israelis travel to Morocco each year on trips to learn about the Jewish community and retrace their family histories.

US backing for Morocco’s Western Sahara claim has long been a rumoured, but unconfirmed, bargaining chip in talk about diplomatic ties. Morocco had claimed the vast desert area as its “southern provinces” since 1975 as the Polisario Front, based in southern Algeria, wants its independence. A recent dust-up with the Polisario brought the issue back into headlines.

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Trump announces Israel-Morocco to normalise relations


“Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to full diplomatic relations – a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East!” Trump tweeted.

The US will recognise Morocco’s claim over Western Sahara, the former Spanish territory in North Africa where a long-running dispute has confounded international negotiators for decades. Trump noted that Morocco had been the first country to recognise the United States as an independent nation just a year after the US declared its independence from Britain in 1776.

“It is thus fitting we recognise their sovereignty over the Western Sahara,” Trump said.

The deal is the result of talks conducted by the President’s senior adviser, son-in-law Jared Kushner, and his chief international negotiator, Avi Berkowitz. “This is a significant step forward for the people of Israel and Morocco. It further enhances Israel’s security, while creating opportunities for Morocco and Israel to deepen their economic ties and improve the lives of their people,” Kushner said.

Morocco is the fourth Arab nation to recognise Israel as the Trump administration seeks to expand a diplomatic framework that began over the summer with an agreement between the Jewish state and the United Arab Emirates.

Bahrain and Sudan have followed suit and administration officials have also been trying to bring Saudi Arabia into the grouping.

“The President reaffirmed his support for Morocco’s serious, credible, and realistic autonomy proposal as the only basis for a just and lasting solution to the dispute over the Western Sahara territory and as such the president recognised Moroccan sovereignty over the entire Western Sahara territory,” the White House said.

All these countries are geographically far removed from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, making it easier to strike deals with Israel and the US for their own particular interests. Morocco also has close ties with Saudi Arabia, which has given its tacit support to the normalisation process with Israel, even at a time when peacemaking with the Palestinians is at a standstill.

Morocco, a country with centuries of Jewish history, has long been rumoured to be ready to establish ties with Israel.

Before Israel’s establishment in 1948, Morocco was home to a large Jewish population, many of whose ancestors migrated to North Africa from Spain and Portugal during the Spanish Inquisition. Today, hundreds of thousands of Israeli Jews trace their lineage to Morocco, making it one of the country’s largest sectors of Israeli society. A small community of Jews, estimated at several thousand people, continues to live in Morocco.

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Morocco has for years had informal ties with Israel. They established low-level diplomatic relations during the 1990s following Israel’s interim peace accords with the Palestinians, but those ties were suspended after the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000.

Since then, the informal ties have continued, and an estimated 50,000 Israelis travel to Morocco each year on trips to learn about the Jewish community and retrace their family histories.

US backing for Morocco’s Western Sahara claim has long been a rumoured, but unconfirmed, bargaining chip in talk about diplomatic ties. Morocco had claimed the vast desert area as its “southern provinces” since 1975 as the Polisario Front, based in southern Algeria, wants its independence. A recent dust-up with the Polisario brought the issue back into headlines.

AP

Start your day informed

Our Morning Edition newsletter is a curated guide to the most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up to The Sydney Morning Herald’s newsletter here, The Age’s here, Brisbane Times’ here, and WAtoday’s here.

Most Viewed in World

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Israel, Morocco agree to normalise ties


Israel and Morocco have agreed to normalise relations in a deal brokered with the help of the United States, making Morocco the fourth Arab country to set aside hostilities with Israel in the past four months.

As part of the agreement, US President Donald Trump agreed to recognise Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara, where there has been a decades-old territorial dispute with Morocco pitted against the olisario Front, a breakaway movement that seeks to establish an independent state in the territory.

Trump sealed the agreement in a phone call on Thursday with Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, the senior US official said.

Morocco is the fourth country since August to strike a deal aimed at normalising relations with Israel.

The others were the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

Under the agreement, Morocco will establish full diplomatic relations and resume official contacts with Israel, grant overflights and also direct flights to and from Israel for all Israelis.

“They are going to reopen their liaison offices in Rabat and Tel Aviv immediately with the intention to open embassies. And they are going to promote economic co-operation between Israeli and Moroccan companies,” White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told Reuters.



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Israel and Sudan reach US-brokered deal to normalise ties


Washington: Israel and Sudan have agreed to take steps to normalise relations in a deal brokered with the help of the US, making Khartoum the third Arab government to set aside hostilities with Israel in the past two months.

US President Donald Trump, seeking re-election on November 3, sealed the agreement in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Transitional Council Head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, senior US officials said.

Donald Trump talks on the phone to the leaders of Sudan and Israel, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien applaud.Credit:AP

Trump’s decision earlier this week to remove Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism paved the way for the deal with Israel, marking a foreign policy achievement for the Republican President as he seeks a second term trailing in opinion polls behind Democratic rival Joe Biden.

“The leaders agreed to the normalisation of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations,” according to a joint statement issued by the three countries.



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Israel and Sudan reach US-brokered deal to normalise ties


Washington: Israel and Sudan have agreed to take steps to normalise relations in a deal brokered with the help of the US, making Khartoum the third Arab government to set aside hostilities with Israel in the past two months.

US President Donald Trump, seeking re-election on November 3, sealed the agreement in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Transitional Council Head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, senior US officials said.

Donald Trump talks on the phone to the leaders of Sudan and Israel, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien applaud.Credit:AP

Trump’s decision earlier this week to remove Sudan from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism paved the way for the deal with Israel, marking a foreign policy achievement for the Republican President as he seeks a second term trailing in opinion polls behind Democratic rival Joe Biden.

“The leaders agreed to the normalisation of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations,” according to a joint statement issued by the three countries.



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Bahrain set to normalise diplomatic relations with Israel in historic move | World News


Bahrain is set to normalise diplomatic relations with Israel in an historic move that marks the latest dramatic shift in Middle East alliances.

Confirming the news, US President Donald Trump tweeted: “Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain agree to a Peace Deal – the second Arab country to make peace with Israel in 30 days!”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was a “new era of peace”, adding: “We have invested in peace for many years and now peace will invest in us.”

Image:
Donald Trump in the Oval Office with his senior adviser Jared Kushner

Mr Netanyahu said he envisaged “very large investments in the Israeli economy” and thanked “our friend, President Trump” for his “important help”.

However the Palestinian Authority said in a statement: “The Palestinian leadership strongly rejects and denounces the US-Bahraini-Israeli tripartite declaration… and considers it a betrayal… The (Israeli) occupation controls the Palestinian lands and annexed them by military force.

“It works diligently to Judaize the city of Jerusalem, control the Islamic and Christian holy sites, and commit crimes against the Palestinian people.”

Bahrain follows its neighbour the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which announced last month that it would normalise ties with the Jewish state, marking a significant change in the region.

The UAE deal was brokered by Donald Trump’s administration, and a signing ceremony to be attended by Mr Netanyahu and the Emirati foreign minister is set to take place in Washington DC on Tuesday.

It is expected now that Bahrain’s Crown Prince, Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, will attend the ceremony too.

Not since Egypt and Jordan formed diplomatic ties with Israel, in 1979 and 1994 respectively, has any Arab country been prepared to recognise it.

The move by the UAE, and now Bahrain, upends a long-standing convention among Arab nations that they would not form any ties with Israel until the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was resolved with the formation of a Palestinian state.

Last month, just weeks after announcing their accord, Israel and the UAE marked the new ties with the first commercial flight between the two countries.



US presidential adviser Jared Kushner (C-L) and US national security adviser Robert O'Brien (C-R) disembark from the flight



Flight from Israel to UAE makes history

Bahrain said last week that it would allow flights between Israel and the UAE to use its airspace, following the same decision by Saudi Arabia.

The Trump administration is framing the historic emerging alliances as proof that the American president is capable of forging a new pathway in the Middle East. The developments are sure to feature as part of his re-election campaign.

The accords are motivated, in part, by the various countries’ common enemy, Iran.

The Trump administration is trying to persuade other Sunni Arab nations to follow Bahrain and the UAE.

Countries including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia share America and Israel’s concern over Iran, and what they see as its malign regional influence.



Dr Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs



‘Win-win’ deal for Israel and UAE

Saudi Arabia has signalled it is not yet ready to sign any deal with Israel, citing the Palestinian issue.

The Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, led by Saudi Arabia, made clear that any normalisation of ties between Arab nations and Israel was conditional on a settlement with the Palestinians.

The initiative states that normalisation would only follow a full withdrawal by Israel from the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Breaking that initiative, the UAE brokered its deal with Israel after Mr Netanyahu agreed to suspend his plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank.

However, the Palestinian Authority said in a statement: “The Palestinian leadership strongly rejects and denounces the US-Bahraini-Israeli tripartite declaration… and considers it a betrayal… The (Israeli) occupation controls the Palestinian lands and annexed them by military force.”

While the new alliances will forge important new economic, trade and tourism ties between the former foes, it is not yet clear how they might further efforts to find peace between Israel and the Palestinians – the conflict at the core of the Middle East peace process.



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Israel and Bahrain agree to normalise relations


Bahrain has become the latest Arab nation to recognise Israel, according to an announcement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday.

“Citizens of Israel, I am moved to inform you that tonight we have reached another peace agreement with another Arab country, Bahrain.

“This agreement is in addition to the historic peace accord with the United Arab Emirates,” Netanyahu said in a statement in Hebrew.

Bahrain agreeing to normalise ties with Israel came as part of a broader diplomatic push by President Donald Trump and his administration to fully integrate the Jewish state into the Middle East.

Trump made a separate announcement on the agreement via Twitter, saying the accord came following a three-way phone call he had with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa.

“Another HISTORIC breakthrough today!” Trump tweeted.

The three leaders also issued a brief six-paragraph joint statement, attesting to the deal.

The announcement came less than a week before Trump hosts a White House ceremony to mark the establishment of full relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Bahrain’s foreign minister will attend the event.

Friday marked the 19th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, with Trump saying: “There’s no more powerful response to the hatred that spawned 9/11 than this agreement.”

Like the UAE agreement, Friday’s Bahrain-Israel deal will normalise diplomatic, commercial, security and other relations between the two countries.

Bahrain, along with Saudi Arabia, had already dropped a prohibition on Israeli flights using its airspace. Saudi acquiescence to the agreements has been considered key to the deals.

The joint statement made passing mention of the Palestinians, saying the parties will continue efforts “to achieve a just, comprehensive, and enduring resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to enable the Palestinian people to realise their full potential.”

Critics of Israel’s deal with the UAE said it was no more than a publicity stunt, adding that it doesn’t represent a meaningful transformation in relations.

They said the one party who would bear the brunt of the move, Palestine, was not involved in the deal.

Indeed, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority labelled the agreement a “betrayal” of the Palestinian cause.



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