Is Israel normalising ties with Morocco?
Israeli officials are seeking to normalise ties with Morocco and hope a breakthrough can be reached in the coming days, Israeli media reported on Wednesday.
Channel 12 news quoted unnamed senior officials who said Israel was hoping for a diplomatic upgrade before the expiration of a new period to form a government.
Israel and Morocco have no official diplomatic ties.
The reports come as embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Wednesday with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Portugal, with normalised ties in the Arab world thought to be part of the talks.
Netanyahu has had a longstanding position that the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories is not an impediment to Israel developing ties in the region.
Pompeo is due to fly to Morocco on Thursday, where he will meet in Rabat with King Mohammed VI, who has cooperated closely with the United States.
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"Morocco plays a great role across the region as an important partner in promoting tolerance (and) has these quiet ties and relationship with Israel as well," a State Department official said last month.
Last week, a senior White House official, Victoria Coates, met with ambassadors from the UAE, Oman, Morocco and Bahrain and urged them to sign non-belligerence agreements with Israel as a step towards normalised relations, Axios reported.
Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab nations to have signed peace treaties with Israel but Morocco, along with some Gulf states such as Bahrain, has been relaxing the Arab world's decades-old boycott of Tel Aviv.
Morocco has unofficially welcomed Israeli investors and tourists. Some 3,000 Jews live in Morocco, a fraction of the number from before the 1948 creation of Israel but still the largest community in the Arab world.
Various Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Oman, have upscaled their normalisation with Israel in recent months.
Last year, Netanyahu conducted a surprise visit to Oman which was followed by a high-profile tour by senior Israeli ministers to the UAE.
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