In a broadcast statement following the announcement on Twitter by US President Donald Trump that Israel and Morocco had agreed to normalize relations between them, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "I thank President Trump for his tremendous deeds on Israel's behalf, and King Mohammed VI of Morocco for his readiness to establish peace. Everyone knows about the warm relationship between the Jewish community in Morocco and the Moroccan people, and they serve as a bridge to the people of Israel. This is the foundation on which we are building peace. We will reestablish liaison offices between Israel and Morocco and after that, embassies. We will establish direct air routes, and there will be a very warm peace here.
"I always dreamt of this peace, Netanyahu added. "There are close ties between Morocco and Israel. There are strong ties between Morocco and the Jewish people."
Earlier, President Trump tweeted, "Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to full diplomatic relations - a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2020."
Minister of Defense Benny Gantz said in a statement, "I welcome the expected establishment of official relations with Morocco. This is an opportunity to anchor a relationship going back many years, and a rich and glorious historic partnership of the two peoples, which will now become official. This is a significant development, one that will strengthen the security and economic interests of the two countries. I thank the American administration that works unwearyingly to strengthen Israel and for stability in the entire region."
Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner said in a press briefing that under the agreement between the two countries Morocco would renew official ties with Israel, and allow aircraft of Israeli airlines to traverse Moroccan airspace, and that there would be direct flights between Israel and Morocco. He added that there would eventually be embassies in Rabat and Tel Aviv. The agreement will also promote economic relations. Kushner said that future normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia was inevitable. A diplomatic source in Jerusalem said that the agreement between Israel and Morocco had mainly been brokered by Kushner and President Trump's Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz.
Over the years, Morocco has stood out as an Arab country with a relatively moderate stance towards Israel. King Hassan II of Morocco supported reconciliation and compromise in the Israel-Palestinian dispute, and mediated between the sides in the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt and in negotiations with the Palestinians. Following the Oslo accords between Israel and the Palestinians in 1995, full diplomatic relations were established between Israel and Morocco, but in response to events in the second Palestinian intifada in 2020, Morocco broke of relations with Israel.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Gabi Ashkenazi said, "I welcome the joyful and important news from Washington today about the renewal of relations between Israel and Morocco. The State of Israel is grateful to the President of the United States Donald Trump and his staff for promoting peace and stability in the Middle East and for their support for Israel. This is another great day for Israel diplomacy, a day of light, as is appropriate for the festival of Hanukah."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 10, 2020
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