Making the Most of Israel’s Renewed Relations with Morocco

Dec. 28 2022

On December 10, 2020, following on the heels of the Abraham Accords, Jerusalem and Rabat concluded an agreement to establish full diplomatic relations, reviving and expanding the low-level ties that emerged during the 1990s and were broken off during the second intifada. Simultaneously, the Moroccan government has invested in establishing Jewish museums—inaugurating two this year—and preserving historical Jewish sites. Pro-Palestinian sentiment nonetheless remains high in the country, and King Mohammed VI sees himself as the protector of the Palestinian people. Sam Millner, Morr Link, and Ofir Winter explain, and offer some suggestions to Israeli diplomats:

Attitudes toward Judaism are rooted in a broader agenda cultivated by King Mohammed VI to promote a national identity characterized by religious, cultural, and ethnic pluralism, as documented by the country’s 2011 constitution, which stipulates that Moroccan unity “is forged by the convergence of its Arab-Islamist, Berber [Amazigh], and Saharan-Hassanic components, nourished and enriched by its African, Andalusian, Hebraic, and Mediterranean influences.”

The positive momentum in Israel-Morocco relations cannot be taken for granted in light of the challenges that these relations face, chief among them Morocco’s position toward the Palestinians.

Israel should capitalize on the overlapping aspects of its history with Morocco to develop bilateral relations further, especially in civilian ties: in sports, academia, arts, and culture, where people-to-people connections are paramount. This way, the countries’ shared heritage and cultural affinity could serve as a lever for enhancing dialogue and cooperation.

A final recommendation stems from a broader understanding of the Abraham Accords and the values they embody. Hardline religious discourse encumbers the ability to promote dialogue and construct mutually respectful and tolerant narratives. Israeli representatives are therefore encouraged to promote ways to engage with Moroccan discourse on religious and cultural pluralism, and consider concrete policies and activities that could advance these ideas, such as promoting dialogue and coexistence between Jews and Muslims in Israel and beyond. Such policies could increase Israel’s ability to develop ties with Arab and Muslim countries—and benefit Israeli society as well.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Abraham Accords, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Morocco

The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship