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Israel recognizes Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara

Israeli and Moroccan flags are pictured during an official ceremony in Israel's Mediterranean coastal city of Tel Aviv, on September 13, 2022. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel has given official recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara and could open a consulate in the city of Dakhla, which is located in that region, the Kingdom’s Royal Office has announced.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu relayed the decision to King Mohammed VI in writing, the Royal Office said.

In that letter, Netanyahu stated that Israel would “recognize the sovereignty of Morocco over the territory of Western Sahara,” the Royal Office stated.

He “indicated that his country’s position will be ‘reflected in all relevant acts and documents of the Israeli Government,” the Royal Office said.

Netanyahu “also stressed” that Israel would inform the UN, regional and international organizations and countries with which it has diplomatic relations of the decision, the Royal Court said.

“This step will strengthen the relations between the countries and their peoples” and it will bolster the “continuation of cooperation to deepen regional peace and stability,” Cohen said.

The Algerian-backed Polisario Front demands an independent state in Western Sahara.

Moroccan sovereignty over the territory is not recognized by many in the international community.

The US did so only in 2020 when it brokered a deal to normalize Israel’s ties with the kingdom.

Only some 28 other countries – mostly African and Arab – have opened consulates in Dakhla or the city of Laayoune, in what Morocco sees as tangible support for its rule over Western Sahara, a territory in north-west Africa.

Last month, Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana had visited Rabat and spoke in support of Israel’s recognition of Western Sahara as Moroccan territory.

The announcement of Israel’s decision on the matter came hours after Israel appointed Col. Sharon Itach to the post of military attache to that country. It marks the first time that Israel has placed a military attaché in an Abraham Accord country.

Israel-Morocco ties have lagged behind those of the Abraham Accord signatories, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Neither country has opened a full-fledged embassy and has instead relies on liaison offices.

Tensions have been high with Morocco over Israeli settlement activity. Rabat has twice canceled a meeting of the Negev Forum, which includes representatives from the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel and the United States.

Source: The Jerusalem Post