Middle East Monitor / December 24, 2020
Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita has confirmed that Morocco is committed to an agreement with Israel that stipulates normalising relations between the two countries.
In an interview with Israeli news website Walla! on Wednesday in Rabat, Bourita stressed that the ties with Israel: “Will be entirely normalised, and we intend to go the whole way in this regard.”
He pointed out that contact between Morocco and Israel had been ongoing for two years and that resuming relations between the two sides had paid off at the most convenient time.
The minister sought to distance Morocco from the “Abraham Accords”, which Israel signed with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, with the latter stating: “We told our American friends not to give the same shirt to everyone. We were pioneers with regard to everything related to normalising ties with Israel.
This is a significant event for us, but we did not start from scratch. For us, this is not about establishing relations, but much more than that. We are renewing the tradition of relations with Israel and we seek to build something that will last for long.”
Bourita noted that Morocco recognised Israel in the 1990s, adding that during an Arab summit in the 1980s the former Moroccan king urged Arab countries to recognise Israel’s existence.
The Moroccan official continued: “We have a unique context and a special history of our own. No Arab state has a clause in the constitution that speaks of the Jewish element in the identity of the state. We have never seen the Jewish community as an enemy. The Jews lived among us and still live among us today.
King Mohammed VI is as much committed to Jewish citizens as to the Muslim citizens. Last year, 70,000 Israelis visited Morocco, and now much more will enter the country.”
“Morocco is willing to build bridges,” stated Bourita, adding that: “Morocco is also ready to help in enabling the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. King Hassan II helped in establishing the peace process and King Mohammed VI will do the same when the conditions are convenient and when the concerned parties ask him to do so.”
It is noteworthy that Morocco and Israel announced the resumption of diplomatic relations after President Donald Trump declared his recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara.
In light of this, Bourita called on US President-elect Joe Biden not to cancel his predecessor’s policy.
The Moroccan minister considers that: “The agreement we signed addresses two long-lasting conflicts, namely the dispute in Western Sahara and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We need to focus on the results and not the process. We hope that the new US administration will continue the positive dynamics and endorse what we have built. What we have here is a package. The first commitment of the three countries that signed this package is to protect and upgrade it.”