Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates welcomed the announcement that Israel and Morocco are to establish full ties on Thursday, with all three countries predicting the development will contribute to regional stability.
US President Donald Trump announced earlier in the day that Israel and Morocco would restore diplomatic and other relations, including the immediate opening of liaison offices in Rabat and Tel Aviv and the eventual opening of embassies. US officials said the agreement would also include joint overflight rights for airlines.
In a separate but likely closely tied statement, the US said it would recognize Morocco’s claim over Western Sahara, a former Spanish North African territory which has been the focus of a long-running dispute that has confounded international negotiators for decades.
Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE have all normalized their relations with Israel. While Egypt’s official relations with Israel go back over forty years, the Emirates and Bahrain have had them for only a few months — since the so-called Abraham Accords were signed in September.
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi became the first Arab leader to praise Morocco’s decision to establish diplomatic ties with Israel. Sissi was also the first to praise the Emirates’ decision to establish formal ties with the Jewish state.
“I followed with great interest the important development regarding the agreement between Morocco and Israel to normalize relations between them with American mediation. If this step bears fruit, it would create further stability and cooperation in our region,” Sissi said in a statement.
Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan tweeted in Arabic: “We welcome the United States ’declaration of recognition of the brotherly Morocco’s sovereignty over the Moroccan Sahara, and the decision of Rabat to resume contacts and diplomatic relations with the State of Israel … a sovereign step that contributes to strengthening our common quest for stability, prosperity, and just and lasting peace in the region.”
Bahrain, another signatory of the Abraham Accords, praised the agreement as well. The ruling monarch’s statement focused first on Morocco’s diplomatic victory, rather than the decision to normalize ties with Israel.
“His Highness welcomed the recognition by the United States of America of the sovereignty of the Kingdom of Morocco over the Moroccan Sahara region and the opening of a US consulate in the city of Dakhla”, Bahraini monarch Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa’s office said in a statement on Thursday night.
Al Khalifa also praised Morocco’s decision to normalize ties with Israel, saying that the deal would “enhance the chances of achieving peace, stability and prosperity in the region.”
Palestinian terror groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad both condemned Morocco’s decision, labeling it a “betrayal.”
Israel and Morocco established low-level diplomatic relations during the 1990s following Israel’s interim peace accords with the Palestinians, but those ties were suspended after the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000. Since then, however, the informal ties have continued, and an estimated 50,000 Israelis travel to Morocco each year on trips, learning about the Jewish community and retracing family histories.
Morocco is the fourth Arab nation to recognize Israel as the administration seeks to expand its “Abraham Accords” framework, which began over the summer with an agreement between the Jewish state and the United Arab Emirates.
Bahrain and Sudan have followed suit and administration officials have also been trying to bring Saudi Arabia into the fold.