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Iran Press TV

Moroccan foreign minister says Israel ties 'already normal'

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 13 December 2020 4:06 PM

The Moroccan foreign minister says the country already enjoys special friendly relations with the Israeli regime, and this goes back to even before the two sides reached an agreement on normalization of ties.

In an interview with the Israeli Yediot Ahronot newspaper on Sunday, Nasser Bourita said Morocco's relations with Israel were unique in the Arab world.

"Israel's relations with Morocco are special and can't be compared to the relations that Israel has with any other Arab country." the top Moroccan diplomat was quoted as saying by the paper.

"From our perspective, we aren't talking about normalization because relations were already normal," Bourita said. "We're talking about (re-formalizing) the relations between the countries to the relations we had, because there have been relations the entire time. They never stopped."

Elsewhere in his remarks, Bourita highlighted Morocco's enduring connection to Israel through its domestic Jewish community and Israeli Jews of Moroccan descent. "Morocco has an important history with the Jewish community, a history that is special in the Arab world."

Morocco closed its liason office in Tel Aviv in 2000 at the start of the second Palestinian intifada (uprising).

On December 10, Morocco and Israel agreed on normalization, a move brokered by the United States.

Morocco has become the fourth Arab country, after the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Sudan, to normalize with Israel since August.

The White House said in a statement that US President Donald Trump sealed the agreement in a telephone conversation with Morocco's King Mohammed VI.

As part of the agreement, Trump who is due to leave office on January 20, agreed to recognize Morocco's "sovereignty" over the contested Western Sahara region.

Morocco annexed the vast region, a former Spanish colony, in 1975 and has since been in conflict with the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, a movement that seeks to establish an independent state in the territory and end Morocco's presence there.

Under the agreement, Rabat will establish full diplomatic relations and resume official contacts with Tel Aviv and grant it overflights. It will also direct flights to and from Israel for all Israelis.

The provocative normalization agreements have already sparked outrage among Palestinians, who view the deals as betrayal of their cause.

A number of the Palestinian resistance groups, in a joint statement on Friday, condemned Morocco's move.

Hamas said it was a "political sin."

The Islamic Jihad Movement of Palestine said Morocco had betrayed Jerusalem al-Quds.

Lebanon's resistance movement Hezbollah said the Arab countries having relations with Tel Aviv will soon regret the action.

Supporters of the Palestinian cause in the Arab world believe Morocco is no longer qualified to be the chair of al-Quds Committee of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).



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