On Thursday, Morocco became the fourth nation to normalize relations with Israel since the start of Donald Trump’s presidency.
America will recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara desert as part of what Trump called a “breakthrough” deal, according to Fox News.
“Another historic breakthrough”
According to Fox, Trump polished off the deal in a phone call with Morocco’s king, Mohammed VI.
Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to full diplomatic relations – a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 10, 2020
Morocco now joins the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan as one of four countries to have normalized relations with Israel in recent months as part of an effort by the Trump administration to unite Israel and Arab states against Iran, Reuters reports.
A “fitting” recognition
As part of the deal, the United States agreed to recognize Morocco’s control of the Western Sahara desert. Controlled by colonial Spain until 1975, the region has been in dispute for decades, according to Axios, with both Morocco and the Polisario Front, an Algeria-backed rebel group that seeks a sovereign state for the Sahrawi people, claiming control.
According to Reuters, the White House said that sovereignty for the Sahrawi is “not a realistic option.”
“Morocco recognized the United States in 1777. It is thus fitting we recognize their sovereignty over the Western Sahara,” President Trump wrote in a tweet.
“A very warm peace”
Before Trump’s presidency, Israel had diplomatic ties with only two Arab states: Egypt and Jordan. According to the New York Post, Trump’s role in brokering the Middle East deals has been hailed as laying the groundwork for peace in the region, and Jared Kushner, who has led the talks, has said that ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia are inevitable.
Trump has also strengthened America’s alliance with Israel significantly over the last four years, and Israel’s leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, praised the latest deal. “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,” he said, according to Reuters.
However, Palestine has said that the agreements undermine an understanding with Arab countries to not engage with Israel until Palestine’s demands for statehood are met. According to The Guardian, the Palestinian Liberation Authority called the Morocco deal “unacceptable” and a “denial of the Palestinian people’s rights.”
Morocco, meanwhile, said that the “measures do not in any manner affect Morocco’s ongoing and sustained commitment to the just Palestinian cause,” The Guardian reported.