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Secret Morocco delegation visited Israel: reports

Morocco has rejected normalisation with Israel [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 October, 2020

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Israeli media reported a secret visit by a Moroccan security delegation to Tel Aviv.

A high-ranking Moroccan security delegation visited Israel a few months ago, according to Israel’s Channel 12.

Senior Moroccan police officers met with their Israeli counterparts in Tel Aviv to come to an agreement on deporting fugitives, the report suggested.

The agreement targeted Israeli fugitives Golan Abitan and Chico Beit Aada, both of which are in Morocco.

The criminals are expected to be transferred via Spain due to the absence of official diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel, the Israeli i24 news website said.

The move came amid increasing normalisation deals between Arab states and Israel, which was triggered by a formalisation of ties by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

The deal has been rejected and condemned as a "betrayal" by the Palestinians who point out that Israel continues to occupy the West Bank and East Jerusalem and besiege the Gaza Strip, denying Palestinian rights to self-determination.

The Trump administration has made Israel-Arab normalisation a key focus of its Middle East foreign policy, claiming they are "peace deals" despite neither states being engaged in conflict.

Read also: Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan lambasts Palestinian leaders as 'failures' for rejecting normalisation

The two Gulf countries broke decades of consensus among Arab states that there would be no relations with Israel until Palestinian statehood had been assured. 

Before Bahrain and the UAE, only Egypt and Jordan had diplomatic relations with Israel.

Since the agreements in September, speculation has pointed to a handful of other Arab countries on the brink of reaching similar deals, with Oman and Sudan as the most likely candidates.

Moroccan Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani was quick to state his government rejects any normalisation of relations with Israel, after rumours the North African country was set to establish ties.

"We refuse any normalisation with the Zionist entity because this emboldens it to go further in breaching the rights of the Palestinian people," El Otmani was quoted by Reuters as saying.

Morocco's official position has been in support of a two-state solution, with East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.

Morocco and Israel began low-level ties in 1993 after an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal was reached, but after a Palestinian uprising broke out in 2000, Rabat suspended relations.

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