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A year after ties renewed, Israel and Morocco hope for ‘thriving, peaceful Mideast’

At special Washington event, envoys speak of growing cooperation between the nations, say it will benefit entire region

Moroccan Ambassador to the US Princess Lalla Joumala and Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog at a Washington event to mark one year since the renewal of ties between the countries, December 9, 2021 (Shmulik Almani)
Moroccan Ambassador to the US Princess Lalla Joumala and Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog at a Washington event to mark one year since the renewal of ties between the countries, December 9, 2021 (Shmulik Almani)

Israel and Morocco on Thursday marked one year since the renewal of ties between the countries as part of the Abraham Accords, with a special event in Washington DC.

Israel’s Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog spoke of Jerusalem’s commitment to cooperation on various projects.

“Relations between the Jewish people and Morocco are ancient, special and important,” he said. “Generations of Jews found sanctuary across Morocco throughout history. Together we can advance a joint vision of a stable, thriving and peaceful Middle East.”

Morocco’s Ambassador Princess Lalla Joumala spoke of her country’s “brave step” to renew diplomatic relations, “opening new paths for cooperation,” and noted the need to leverage such opportunities and momentum for regional peace.

Last month Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited the kingdom, where he signed an extensive memorandum of understanding which formalized security ties between the two countries and made it easier for them to share intelligence, for the militaries and defense ministries to directly communicate with one another, and for Israel to sell weapons and defensive systems to Morocco.

It was the first such agreement between Israel and an Arab state ever, Israeli officials said.

Moroccan Ambassador to the US Princess Lalla Joumala and Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog at a Washington event to mark one year since the renewal of ties between the countries, December 9, 2021 (Shmulik Almani)

Since last year, after the two countries normalized ties, Jerusalem and Rabat have signed a number of memoranda of understanding on issues including civil aviation, petroleum drilling, water resource research and finance. The two countries also reopened their respective liaison offices, which had been shuttered after Morocco halted ties with Israel at the outset of the Second Intifada in 2000.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid visited Morocco in August to officially open the Israeli Liaison Office in Rabat, as well as meet with officials and sign a series of agreements. The two countries plan to eventually convert these liaison offices into full embassies, though no specific date for that has been set.

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