In the latest sign of warming relations between Israel and the Arab world, Israel and Morocco signed a joint declaration on the establishment of ties in Rabat.
President Trump’s Senior White House advisor Jared Kushner led the delegation from Israel to Morocco.
It’s the fourth agreement between Israel and a Muslim nation that Kushner has overseen since August when the UAE and Bahrain signed on to what has become known as the US-sponsored Abraham Accords.
“We returned this morning from a very successful visit to Rabat that took place less than two weeks after the announcement of the establishment of relations between the two countries,” said Israel’s National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat, who led the Israeli delegation.
Ben-Shabbat said an official Moroccan mission would be opened in Tel Aviv within about two weeks.
“We have already signed preliminary agreements that will begin to add tangible content to the bilateral cooperation. Relations with Morocco are advancing quickly and they will be full, deep, tight, warm and very friendly,” Ben-Shabbat added.
Those agreements include four bilateral cooperation agreements and MOUs on civil aviation, visa exemption for official passport holders, water, and investment protection.
The concluding meeting was held last night at midnight between Ben-Shabbat, Kushner, the Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and Moroccan King Mohammed VI's adviser Fouad Ali El Himma.
Ben-Shabbat also met with King Mohammed VI and invited him on behalf of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit Israel.
Morocco is home to a centuries-old Jewish community of an estimated several thousand
Before Israel’s 1948 war of Independence Morocco had a large Jewish population, many of whose ancestors migrated to North Africa from Spain and Portugal during the Spanish Inquisition.
Hundreds of thousands of Israeli Jews, including Ben-Shabbat, trace their family heritage to Morocco and the country has long welcomed Israeli tourists.
As part of the deal, Morocco received US recognition of its 1975 annexation of the disputed region of Western Sahara.
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Kushner described the meetings as “enormously productive” and that Morocco and Israel “are making huge strides on their commitments to resume full diplomatic relations, promote economic cooperation and to reopen their liaison offices very quickly.”
The joint delegation flew on the first-ever direct Israeli El Al flight between Israel and Morocco.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the flight “another breakthrough for peace, true peace, with mutual respect, from strength, peace for peace.”
Netanyahu noted that there were four peace agreements in four months and congratulated the King of Morocco for making the decision to move toward peace.
“We are creating a new era of peace, prosperity and hope for our region, for our peoples and for our future. I would like you to convey my greetings to the King of Morocco who is doing a historic thing,” Netanyahu said.
“We are changing the future of the two peoples, who are indeed marvelously linked,” he said.
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