The Growing Alliance between Israel and Morocco

Oct. 12 2022

In September, Belkhir el-Farouk, the commander of the Moroccan armed forces, came to Israel to take part in an international conference of senior military leaders, hosted by the IDF. Just a few months beforehand, Farouk had met with his Israeli counterpart in Morocco. These meetings are just two signs among many of increasing closeness between Jerusalem and Rabat in the wake of the renewal of diplomatic relations following the signing of the Abraham Accords. Eran Lerman explains the reasons for this alignment, and its historical backdrop:

Following the Oslo Accords (1993) and the [Israeli] peace treaty with Jordan (1994), Morocco moved to establish reciprocal diplomatic legations [with the Jewish state, although not at the level of embassies]. A steady flow of visits by Israelis—many of them of Moroccan origin—and growing trade were added to the intelligence sharing and military cooperation. Even after formal relations were severed again due to the outbreak of Palestinian violence in the autumn of 2000, tens of thousands of Israelis continued to visit every year, and military cooperation, including arms supplies, continued.

Beyond that, the new Moroccan constitution of 2011 references the Jewish component of Moroccan cultural identity. . . . The Jewish Museum in Casablanca is the only one of its kind in the Arab world. Cultural exchanges and participation in sports events were already taking place before the Abraham Accords’ breakthrough.

Still, it is the dynamic development of security cooperation, ever since the formal establishment of relations, which has set the agenda. The steps already taken, and set to expand further, are unprecedented in scope and significance and, in some respects, exceed even the parallel progress in Israeli relations with the UAE and Bahrain. Both countries are concerned about Iran’s ambitions in the region: Morocco cut off diplomatic ties with Tehran in 2018 due to the involvement of Iranian government agents in supporting the Polisario Front.

Originally backed by the USSR, and now by Algeria and Iran, the Polisario Front has been conducting a guerrilla campaign against the Moroccan government for the independence of Western Sahara, a disputed territory Rabat claims as its own. This conflict, Lerman explains, places Morocco and Israel on one side, and Iran and an increasingly anti-Israel Algeria on the other.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Abraham Accords, Iran, Israeli Security, Morocco

President Biden Should Learn the Lessons of Past U.S. Attempts to Solve the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Sept. 21 2023

In his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Joe Biden addressed a host of international issues, mentioning, inter alia, the “positive and practical impacts” resulting from “Israel’s greater normalization and economic connection with its neighbors.” He then added that the U.S. will “continue to work tirelessly to support a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and Palestinians—two states for two peoples.” Zach Kessel experiences some déjà vu:

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and review how past U.S.-brokered talks between Jerusalem and [Palestinian leaders] have gone down, starting with 1991’s Madrid Conference, organized by then-President George H.W. Bush. . . . Though the talks, which continued through the next year, didn’t get anywhere concrete, many U.S. officials and observers across the world were heartened by the fact that Madrid was the first time representatives of both sides had met face to face. And then Palestinian militants carried out the first suicide bombing in the history of the conflict.

Then, in 1993, Bill Clinton tried his hand with the Oslo Accords:

In the period of time directly after the Oslo Accords . . . suicide bombings on buses and in crowded public spaces became par for the course. Clinton invited then-Palestinian Authority chairman Yasir Arafat and then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak to Camp David in 2000, hoping finally to put the conflict to rest. Arafat, who quite clearly aimed to extract as many concessions as possible from the Israelis without ever intending to agree to any deal—without even putting a counteroffer on the table—scuttled any possibility of peace. Of course, that’s not the most consequential event for the conflict that occurred in 2000. Soon after the Camp David Summit fell apart, the second intifada began.

Since Clinton, each U.S. president has entered office hoping to put together the puzzle that is an outcome acceptable to both sides, and each has failed. . . . Every time a deal has seemed to have legs, something happens—usually terrorist violence—and potential bargains are scrapped. What, then, makes Biden think this time will be any different?

Read more at National Review

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Joe Biden, Palestinian terror, Peace Process