Israel weighs recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over disputed region in exchange for upgraded ties

Morocco reportedly conditioning upgrading ties, opening full embassy in Tel Aviv on Israel officially recognizing Rabat’s sovereignty over disputed Western Sahara.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The Israeli government is seriously considering officially recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over a disputed region as a goodwill gesture to Rabat, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The report comes on the heels of a diplomatic visit by numerous Israeli officials to Morocco, which was aimed at upgrading ties with the North African nation.

Morocco joined the Abraham Accords normalization agreement, establishing relations with Israel in December 2020.

Notably, Morocco made the deal after the U.S. government, under then-President Donald Trump, acknowledged their sovereignty over the Western Sahara region.

Should Israel also recognize Moroccan control over the area, which has seen decades-long clashes between separatist militants and Moroccan security forces, Rabat will reportedly agree to further strengthen relations with the Jewish state.

A source within the Israeli government told Reuters that “the countries’ respective missions, currently designated as liaison offices” would be upgraded to “economic embassies,” and the introduction of a “free-trade pact” in the future.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry would not confirm or deny the Reuters report, but a source close to Netanyahu told the outlet that Israeli recognition of the Western Sahara as part of Morocco was currently being debated in Security Council (NSC) meetings.

National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi met Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita on Wednesday in Rabat, the Moroccan government said in a statement.

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In January 2022, Axios reported that Rabat conditioned the opening of a full embassy in Tel Aviv upon Israeli recognition of the Western Sahara as Moroccan territory.

Last week, Transportation Minister Miri Regev – who herself is of Moroccan Jewish heritage – signed a number of bilateral agreements with her Moroccan counterpart, including mutual recognition of drivers licenses and a pledge to join forces on transportation innovation and road safety initiatives.