After signing a security agreement with Morocco, Israel’s Defense Minister departs.
Following last year’s normalisation agreement, Israel’s defense minister concluded an unusual visit to Morocco on Thursday, signing a security agreement as part of growing ties that have enraged Algeria.
Gantz, the first Israeli defense minister to visit Morocco, said his tour had boosted “the security of the State of Israel and its foreign ties” before departing.
Gantz and Abdellatif Loudiyi, Morocco’s minister in charge of defense administration, signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday to advance security and military cooperation.
Morocco will be able to purchase high-tech equipment from Israel’s defense industry according to the arrangement. All security goods exports must be approved by Gantz’s ministry.
In a deal mediated by former US President Donald Trump last year, Israel and Morocco normalized relations.
The Trump administration recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara in exchange for recognizing Israel.
Morocco controls the majority of Western Sahara and regards it as part of its sovereign territory.
Algeria backs the Polisario Front’s bid for independence in Western Sahara.
Algeria severed ties with Morocco in August, citing “hostile activities,” which Rabat denies.
Gantz’s journey to Morocco, according to a top Algerian official, was “focused” at his country.
“The adversaries are mobilizing more and more to weaken Algeria,” said Salah Goudjil, Algeria’s Senate president and the country’s second-highest official after the president.
Algiers accused Rabat earlier this month of murdering three Algerian citizens in an attack on their trucks on a desert roadway across the Polisario-controlled portion of Western Sahara, prompting worries of an escalation.
Last week, Polisario’s leader, Brahim Ghali, claimed the movement has decided to increase military actions.
On Thursday, an article in Algeria’s state newspaper El Moudjahid sought to highlight public outrage in Morocco over Gantz’s visit, claiming that it “ignited the indignation” of Palestinian activists in the country.
The sequence of normalization treaties orchestrated by Trump, which saw Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain establish full diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, infuriated Palestinians.
Sudan followed suit in January, but relations have yet to be established.
The Palestinians have urged the Arab world not to recognize Israel until it agrees to a peace solution that includes the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.
The Palestinian Islamist party Hamas, which governs Gaza, denounced Gantz’s trip to Morocco on Thursday.
“Normalizing relations with the occupation is a knife in the back of the Palestinian people, encouraging the occupation to continue with its crimes and transgressions.” The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.