Netanyahu Speaks With Morocco’s King, Invites Him To Israel

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Tel Aviv- Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Morocco’s King Mohammed VI have held a telephone conversation during which the Israeli premier invited the king for a visit, Netanyahu’s office said.

The two leaders spoke on Friday about moving forward with a United States-brokered agreement announced earlier this month to normalise bilateral ties, according to the Israeli statement.

“The leaders congratulated each other over the renewal of ties between the countries, the signing of the joint statement with the US, and the agreements between the two countries,” said the statement.

“In addition, the processes and mechanisms to implement the agreements were determined,” it added.

Four bilateral deals were signed on Tuesday between Israel and Morocco, centering on direct air links, water management, connecting financial systems and a visa waiver arrangement for diplomats.

Israel and Morocco are also due to reopen diplomatic offices.

Netanyahu also thanked King Mohammed VI for hosting an Israeli delegation this week.

King Mohammed VI underscored the close ties between the Moroccan Jewish community and the monarchy, the Royal Court said in a statement.

Morocco has North Africa’s largest Jewish community of about 3,000 people, and Israel is home to 700,000 Jews of Moroccan origin.

Palestine position unchanged: Morocco

While welcoming the resumption of relations with Israel, the king said Morocco’s position regarding Palestine remains unchanged.

Rabat advocates the two-state solution and the unique character of Jerusalem as a city of three religions.

Morocco closed its liaison office in Tel Aviv in 2000, at the start of the second Intifada, or uprising.

The North African nation became the third Arab state this year, after the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, to normalise ties with Israel under US-brokered deals, while Sudan has pledged to follow suit.

Palestinians have condemned the deals, calling them a betrayal of a longstanding demand that Israel first meet their statehood demand.

As the Trump administration sought to isolate Iran, the normalisation deals were sweetened with promises of business opportunities or economic aid.

Both Israel and Morocco anticipate a surge in tourism aboard such connections, mainly among the hundreds of thousands of Israelis of Moroccan descent.

Israel’s new partners have also enjoyed bilateral benefits from Washington – in Rabat’s case, the US recognition of its sovereignty over Western Sahara.

 

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