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Morocco’s King announces Israeli recognition of Western Sahara

July 17, 2023

By Matthias Inbar

King Mohammed VI states Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed Saharan region

Morocco's King Mohammed VI announced that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially recognized Rabat's sovereignty over the disputed Western Saharan region.

"I welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu's announcement on the recognition of Morocco's sovereignty over the Western Sahara," Israel's Foreign Minister Eli Cohen confirmed.

"This step will strengthen the relations between the countries and between the peoples and the continuation of cooperation to deepen regional peace and stability," Cohen added.

The North African monarch said that Netanyahu sent an official letter announcing the State of Israel's decision to "recognize the sovereignty of Morocco over the territory of Western Sahara."

The statement from the Moroccan kingdom added that the position will be "reflected in all relevant acts and documents of the Israeli Government," as well as "transmitted to the United Nations, to regional and international organizations of which Israel is a member, and to all countries with which Israel maintains diplomatic relations."

According to the statement, Netanyahu also informed the Moroccan king that Israel was positively considering "the opening of a consulate in the town of Dakhla," as part of the decision.

"The decision made by Prime Minister Netanyahu was needed to strengthen the relations between the countries," Meir Ben Shabbat, a former Israeli National Security Head, told i24NEWS, adding it "was important for Israel to recognize that sovereignty."

Ben Shabbat added that the move between the two friendly countries "will halt Iran and its allies' influence in the region, and will push forward all the strategic relations between the two countries.

Israel's parliamentary speaker Amir Ohana told i24NEWS in June that he saw a new era in relations between the two countries. He hinted quite clearly at the recognition, saying ā€œI truly support the integrity of Morocco and the Moroccan Sahara. However, this decision should be accepted by Netanyahu. I know it is under very serious discussion.ā€

"Israel should move towards a recognition of the Moroccan Sahara, just as our closest ally, the United States, did by signing the Abraham Accords," Ohana continued, referring to the American recognition in 2020. "Once the recognition will be official and complete, Iā€™m sure it will bring us even closer and then we can see more exchanges of delegations.ā€

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