The time has come for Israel to take the initiative and remove the last obstacle to the establishment of formal and comprehensive diplomatic relations with the Kingdom of Morocco, underlines the retired Israeli Colonel, Eran Lerman, in a Policy Paper published by the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS).
Morocco and Israel share many common interests and have established strong relations on many levels, says the retired Colonel and former deputy national security adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Eran Lerman.
In his Policy Paper entitled “Israel’s relations with Morocco and the future of the Abraham Accords”, Dr. Lerman believes that an official recognition by Israel of the Moroccanity of the Sahara as well as an exchange of visits would strengthen relations, open new avenues of security cooperation and reflect the need to oppose Iranian interference in the Maghreb together.
For the JISS vice president, Israel’s actions must reflect not only the importance of bilateral relations, but also the need to confront Iran’s region-wide subversion. The revolutionary regime of the Islamic Republic has been involved in the Sahara conflict for decades and its attitude towards the Moroccan monarchy is hostile.
” This threat, in turn, could greatly expand Israeli-Moroccan security and military cooperation, but in the absence of full diplomatic relations, it will not be easy to realize the full potential“, he indicated.
Also referring to the Negev Forum, Dr Lerman recalled that the meeting of the Forum’s Steering Committee and the six working groups associated with it was held in the United Arab Emirates in early January in an atmosphere that was remarkably positive. , indicating good prospects for expanding cooperation, despite the coming to power in Israel of the coalition government of Netanyahu.
However, he continued, the mood changed in a few weeks with the rise of tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, thus prompting the postponement of the Forum which was to be held at Maron in March. The situation is not irremediable and the period preceding the convening of the Forum could be an opportunity to resolve the critical differences which remain, affirms the retired Colonel.
” At least as far as host country Morocco is concerned, it was not just Israeli-Palestinian tensions that led to the postponement. Discontent had grown in Rabat, at the highest level, as Israel was perceived as dragging its feet on several bilateral issues and especially on the recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara.“explains Lerman, noting that this issue remains the highest strategic and diplomatic priority for Morocco since the Green March in 1975.
However, that does not mean that the relationship has stalled. Tourism, the analyst adds, including visits by tens of thousands of Israelis of Moroccan descent, is flourishing. The military cooperation framework signed in November has already resulted in major arms deals, including Morocco’s recently unveiled acquisition of Elbit Systems’ Precise and Universal Launch System (PULS) multiple heavy rocket launchers. .
On the other hand, economic investments and infrastructure development were at the heart of discussions at the non-governmental trilateral conference, with the United Arab Emirates, held in Marrakech in November.