Israel has officially inaugurated its diplomatic office in Morocco with the two sides agreeing to open full embassies in the coming months, after they normalized relations in a US-brokered deal last year.
“This morning we decided with [Moroccan Foreign] Minister Nasser Bourita that we are going to open full embassies in Jerusalem (al-Quds) and in Morocco during a couple of months,” Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid told a news conference in commercial capital Casablanca on Thursday.
Lapid’s two-day visit to Morocco is the first to the North African country by an Israeli minister since 2003.
Under the so-called Abraham Accords, Morocco became the fourth Arab country in 2020 to establish ties with the Israeli regime after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan, in what has been strongly denounced by Palestinians as a “betrayal” of their cause.
Lapid welcomed the normalization agreements with the four Arab states and claimed that others would follow. He also announced the imminent opening of an Israeli embassy in Bahrain.
Morocco’s decision to normalize ties with Israel came after former US President Donald Trump recognized the North African country’s “sovereignty” over Western Sahara, a disputed and divided former Spanish colony.
Morocco and Israel began limited ties in 1993 after the latter reached a peace deal with the Palestinian Liberation Organization as part of the Oslo Accords. But Rabat suspended ties with Israel after the outbreak of the Second Palestinian Intifada in 2000.
Morocco’s foreign minister raised the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with Lapid on Wednesday and underscored the need for new talks to reach “a solution based on two states living side by side on the 1967 borders.”
Lapid said he supported the so-called two-state solution but not under current conditions.
“I support the two-state solution. Right now there is no feasible possibility to move forward with the current Palestinian leadership and the divisions between Hamas and PA, and the structure of the Israeli government,” he said.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken congratulated the two sides “on the reopening of the Israeli liaison office in Rabat” and called Lapid’s trip “significant for Israel, Morocco, and the broader region.”
Last month, Israeli airlines began direct commercial flights from Israel to Morocco.
Moroccan activists, nevertheless, have firmly rejected all forms of normalization with the Israeli regime and voiced unwavering support for the Palestinian cause.