Israel FM Aims to Recognize Sahara


The plot thickens over whether Morocco will get the full recognition of its claimed sovereignty over Western Sahara by Israel. Recently Maghrebi reported that Rabat had postponed an important conference with Israel over concerns surrounding its illegal settlement plans which have been in the news recently.

But now Israel’s foreign minister has responded, hinting that it could recognise Western Sahara as Moroccan but has linked the postponed conference itself as a deal breaker.

Israel linked on July 3rd its pending decision on recognising the Moroccan claim on Western Sahara to Morocco hosting a repeatedly postponed forum of foreign ministers involved in a US-sponsored regional normalisation drive.

Diplomatic sources have said that Morocco could establish full relations with Israel – with their current mid-level diplomatic missions repurposed as embassies – in exchange for Israeli recognition of Morocco’s claim, Reuters reports.

But Morocco, citing Israeli policies on the Palestinians, last month postponed a so-called Negev Forum of Israel and Arab states, which it had been due to convene.

Asked at a briefing to foreign media what Israel sought in return for a recognition of Western Sahara as Moroccan, and whether it planned to open a consulate in the territory, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen linked a decision to the conference.

“We are right now working in regards to this issue and our plan is to have our final decision in the Negev Forum,” he told reporters, adding that he expected the Moroccan-hosted event to take place in September or October.

Morocco upgraded ties with Israel in 2020, encouraged by then US President Donald Trump, who recognised Rabat’s rule over Western Sahara, where the Algeria-backed Polisario Front demands an independent state. Trump’s successor, President Joe Biden, has not followed through by opening a consulate there, however.


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