Morocco/Israel normalisation welcomed

December 11, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Pro-Israel groups have reacted positively to Morocco’s announcement on Thursday of its intention to normalize ties with Israel.

Beth-El Synagogue in Casablanca in 2017. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

It’s the fourth normalization deal in the past four months between Israel and Arab countries, after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. These nations follow in the wake of Egypt and Jordan, which made peace with Israel in 1979 and 1994, respectively.

The Zionist Federation of Australia congratulated the leaders and people of Israel and Morocco on Friday, after the announcement of normalisation between the two countries.

ZFA President Jeremy Leibler said, “This remarkable period of history has seen yet another country make the decision not to hold back its own people in servitude to a failed ideology of the past.”

Mr Leibler continued, “Morocco has a special place in the hearts of Israelis and Jews around the world. For two thousand years, it has hosted a thriving Jewish population. Morocco protected its Jewish population when under Nazi occupation, unlike so many European countries. After 1948, many Moroccan Jews came to call Israel home. The Moroccan influence in Israeli culture is profound and celebrated.”

On the diplomatic ramifications of the announcement, Mr Leibler said, “Israeli–Moroccan peace is good for Israelis, for Moroccans and for Palestinians. That His Majesty King Mohammed VI phoned Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas personally to expressed continued support for Israeli–Palestinian peace shows that Israel’s increasing diplomatic relations with regional countries is not a setback for Israeli–Palestinian peace, but a buttress for it.”

Mr Leibler also said that he has written to the Moroccan ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Karim Medrek, welcoming the news.

The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council stated Israel’s dream of living in true harmony with its neighbours is a step closer to reality after Morocco agreed to establish full diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

The deal is the fourth this year, after the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan, and the sixth Arab nation with which Israel will have a full and peaceful relationship.

“This year has been a challenging year for so many reasons, but 2020 can be fondly remembered as a time of unprecedented peacemaking for the state of Israel,”  said Dr Colin Rubenstein, executive director of AIJAC.

“The cultural ties between Israel and Morocco are already strong, with so many Jewish people claiming Moroccan ancestry. Israel and Morocco have also had many reasons to work together strategically in the past. But this latest announcement brings the relationship into the open to the betterment of both countries.

“The ultimate peace deal will be between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Dr Rubenstein concluded. “Like the Emiratis, Bahrainis, Sudanese and now Moroccans have done already, it is time for the Palestinians to sit down at the negotiating table and continue working towards a sustainable peace with Israel.”

In the meantime, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “I’ve always believed that this historic day would come, I’ve always worked for it. I want to first thank President Trump for his extraordinary efforts to expand peace, to bring peace to Israel and the peoples of the Middle East. President Trump, the people of Israel and the State of Israel will be forever indebted to you for your magnificent efforts on our behalf. I want to thank, too, the King of Morocco, King Mohammed VI, for taking this historic decision to bring a historic peace between us.

The people of Morocco and the Jewish people have had a warm relationship in the modern period. Everybody knows the tremendous friendship shown by the kings of Morocco and the people of Morocco to the Jewish community there. And hundreds of thousands of these Moroccan Jews came to Israel, and they form a human bridge between our two countries and our two peoples, of sympathy respect, of fondness and love. I think that this is the foundation on which we can now build this peace. We’ll resume liaison offices quickly between Israel and Morocco and work as rapidly as possible to establish full diplomatic relations. We’ll also institute direct flights between Morocco and Israel and Israel and morocco, giving this bridge of peace an even more solid foundation. This will be a very warm peace. Peace has never – the light of peace on this Hanukkah day has never – shone brighter than today in the Middle East.”

 

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