Morocco is the fourth Arab country since August to conclude an agreement aimed at normalizing relations with Israel.
Morocco’s decision to normalize relations with Israel under a deal brokered by the United States has drawn mixed global reactions.
On Thursday, Morocco became the fourth Arab country since August to reach an agreement aimed at normalizing relations with Israel. The others were the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.
As part of the deal, US President Donald Trump agreed to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, where there has been a decades-old territorial dispute with Morocco opposing the Algerian-backed Polisario Front. , a separatist movement that seeks to establish an independent country. State of the territory.
Palestinians have criticized the normalization agreements, saying Arab countries have rolled back the cause of peace by abandoning a long-standing demand that Israel cede land to a Palestinian state before it can be recognized.
Bassam al-Salhi, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, condemned the agreement.
“Any Arab retreat from The Arab Peace Initiative, which stipulates that normalization comes only after Israel ends its occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands, is unacceptable and increases Israel’s belligerence and its denial of the rights of the Palestinian people, ”he said. said al-Salhi.
In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said: “It is a sin and it does not serve the Palestinian people. The Israeli occupation uses each new normalization to increase its aggression against the Palestinian people and increase its settlement expansion. “
The Polisario, which is made up of the local Saharawi people and fought a war of independence from 1975 to 1991, condemned “in the strongest terms” Trump’s attempt to give Morocco “what does not belong to him”.
“Trump’s decision does not change the legal nature of the Sahara issue because the international community does not recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara,” the statement read.
The Polisario, which calls for a referendum on self-determination, benefits from the support of neighboring Algeria, which has also hosted thousands of Sahrawi refugees.
Morocco controls 80 percent of the disputed land, including phosphate deposits and fishing waters.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, whose country has been linked since 1979 by a peace treaty with Israel, welcomed the announcement.
El-Sisi hailed the agreement as “an important step towards more stability and regional cooperation” in the Middle East.
Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya welcomed the announcement but rejected Trump’s recognition of Western Sahara as part of Moroccan territory.
“Regarding the normalization of relations between Morocco and Israel, we welcome this normalization, because we welcomed each of the normalizations that have taken place in recent weeks,” said Laya.
“As far as peace between Israelis and Palestinians is concerned, this remains a problem to be resolved. And the question of Western Sahara remains to be resolved. And in both cases, Spain’s position is very clear that United Nations resolutions must be sought to resolve these two issues, ”he added.
Spain was the occupying power of Western Sahara until 1975, when the country surrendered administrative control to joint administration by Morocco and Mauritania.
The country maintains close ties with the Saharawi people and many activists have studied in Spain over the years.
The United Nations
Following the announcement, the UN said its position was “unchanged” on the disputed region of Western Sahara.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres believes that “the solution to the issue can still be found on the basis of Security Council resolutions,” said his spokesperson.
The UN chief’s message to both parties “is to avoid any action that could further exacerbate a tense situation,” the spokesperson added.