Senior Vice President of the U.S. Foreign Policy Council, Ilan Berman called, this January 16, 2023, Israel to recognize the sovereignty of Morocco over its Sahara. In an op-ed published in the Israeli daily “Jerusalem Post”, he said that “ties have not yet reached their full potential between the two countries” and that they would benefit from a change of position on the part of the Hebrew state.
Although Israeli officials have previously expressed support for the idea, the country’s foreign ministry (Eli Cohen, ed.) has so far refrained from unequivocally recognizing Western Sahara (sic) as an integral part of the Kingdom,” he regretted. And to emphasize that other countries signatories of the Abraham Accords, under which Morocco and three other Arab countries have normalized their relations with Israel, had, them, provided open support for the territorial integrity of the Kingdom, such as Bahrain, which has equipped in November 2020 a consulate in the city of Laayoune. Mr. Berman emphasized that the issue of the Moroccan Sahara “is at the very heart of Morocco’s national identity.
In any case, the invitation he extended to the Israeli government is reminiscent of previous revelations by the American electronic newspaper Axios, which, in an article dated January 4, 2023, had indicated that Israel’s reluctance to recognize the Moroccan Sahara’s Moroccanness was the main reason why Morocco still refused to transform the liaison office it has had since February 2021 in the city of Tel Aviv into an embassy.
The media referred to the decision of the former Israeli Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, to disassociate himself from his colleague Minister of the Interior, Ayelet Shaked, after the latter took the initiative, during the visit she made in June 2022 in Morocco, to reiterate the support of his country to Rabat. According to Israeli officials interviewed by Axios, the Moroccan authorities systematically put this recognition requirement on the table whenever the status of the bilateral liaison offices was raised with them. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who returned to power on December 29, 2022, is reportedly open to the idea of recognition in return for an official welcome in Morocco.