The Negev Forum, which brings together Israel and the Arab states that have normalized their relations with the Jewish state, is still subject to agreements between the organizers, including Morocco.
The central question in the organization and the reasons for the postponement of this event is undoubtedly the file of the Moroccan Sahara.
During the first edition, the Moroccan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Nasser Bourita, had suggested the organization of this forum in another desert than that of the Negev, namely, the Moroccan Sahara, in Dakhla, for all that this brings as symbolic.
The idea was popular and there did not seem to be any difficulties or signs of resistance from any of the parties given that at the heart of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom and Israel is the tripartite agreement signed with the States States too, which stipulates the explicit recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara.
Only, between the signing of the Morocco-Israel-USA tripartite agreement on December 22, 2020, and today, Tel Aviv is missing with regard to proper recognition of this fact, and the Biden administration would like to avoid choosing a controversial place, which Morocco does not accept.
In recent weeks, declarations by officials, affirming and confirming the Moroccanness of the Sahara, have followed one another. Speaker of the Knesset, Amir Ohana who revealed during an official trip to Rabat that advanced discussions would be underway in Israel on the subject.
A confirmation of a similar declaration by the Israeli Minister of Transport, Miri Megev last May, who had indicated that Israel would take a position on the question of the Sahara soon.
In March, Israeli Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Ofir Akunis, announced before the UN in New York that an Israeli aquaculture company had set up in the Moroccan Sahara.
Other subjects are delaying the organization of this complicated summit. Initially scheduled for March 2023, its effective date remains uncertain to date. Among the controversial issues is the case of the head of Israel’s liaison office in Rabat, David Govrin, who was recalled to Tel Aviv after an investigation into abuse, embezzlement and sex offenses.
The Israeli press recently announced that the investigation carried out by the Foreign Affairs services in Israel had concluded that the diplomat had been cleared of all the charges against him. The same sources also announced his imminent return to Morocco, but the return of this controversial personality is subject to conditions and should only take place after the summit of the Negev Forum organized in Morocco.
Finally, the other factor that has weighed heavily on the postponement of the Negev Forum on several occasions is none other than the tensions and the resurgence of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Morocco as well as the Arab States strongly condemned on several occasions the acts of violence and the Israeli intrusions in the places of Muslim prayers in Al Quds.