Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Morocco to normalize ties with Israel in deal with Trump over Western Sahara

Morocco has agreed to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel, President Trump announced on Thursday. The Moroccan decision comes as part of a deal that includes U.S. recognition of the disputed territory of Western Sahara as part of Morocco.

Why it matters: Morocco is the fourth Arab country to move toward normalization with Israel in the last four months as part of the Trump administration's "Abraham Accords" initiative. But the deal also involves a change in longstanding U.S. policy with just six weeks left in Trump's term.


Behind the scenes: The negotiations around this deal started two years ago but intensified in the last few months. Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner and special envoy Avi Berkowitz negotiated directly with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.

  • The Israeli government encouraged the White House several times in the last three years to pursue this track, but the talks over the last few months involved only the U.S. and Morocco.
  • The White House briefed the Israeli government in recent weeks about a possible breakthrough.

The other side: While the normalization deal is a breakthrough for Israeland a significant achievement for Trump, recognition of Western Sahara as part of Morocco is a big shift in U.S. policy — and a major diplomatic achievement for Morocco.

  • Western Sahara is a sparsely populated, disputed territory that borders Morocco on the northwest corner of Africa.
  • It was formerly controlled by Spain and is now claimed by Morocco despite international opposition and fierce resistance from the indigenous population.
  • State of play: A violent insurgency ended in 1991 after 16 years, but the matter remains unresolved. Several weeks ago, fighting erupted again between the Moroccan army and Sahrawi rebels.

What’s next: The U.S. is now the only Western country to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara. President-elect Biden will have to decide whether to reverse Trump's decision after taking office in January.

  • Such a move would not be easy for Biden to make, because it could cause the Morocco-Israeli normalization process to collapse.

Flashback: Israel and Morocco have had a secret relationship dating back to the 1960’s through their respective intelligence services.

  • In the late 1970’s, Morocco mediated between Israel and Egypt to help them move towards the historic peace deal.
  • In the 1990’s, after the Oslo Accords, Israel and Morocco established diplomatic relations and opened diplomatic missions in Tel Aviv and Rabat.
  • In 1994, Israeli prime minister Itzhak Rabin and foreign minister Shimon Peres visited Morocco as the guests of the late King Hassan II.
  • But in 2000, after the second Intifada, Morocco cut off relations with Israel and both countries shut down their diplomatic offices.

In the 20 years since, then have been several secret meetings between Israeli officials and Moroccan foreign ministers.

  • In September 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met secretly with Bourita, the Moroccan foreign minister, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Go deeper:

1 dead, 2 injured after pickup truck hits Pride spectators in Florida

A driver in a pickup truck hit spectators at a Pride festival in Wilton Manors, Florida, killing at least one person and wounding two others Saturday, according to Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, per the SunSentinel.

The big picture: The incident at the Wilton Manors Stonewall Parade and Festival was one of two involving a pickup truck hitting a crowd on Saturday, with several cyclists left critically wounded in Arizona.

Keep reading... Show less

In photos: Brazilians rally against Bolsonaro as COVID deaths top 500,000

Demonstrators took to the streets in at least 22 of Brazil’s 26 states to protest President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic — as COVID-19 cases surged past 500,000 on Saturday, per AP.

The big picture: Brazil has the world's second-highest coronavirus death toll and third-highest number of cases. Only 12% of the country's population has been vaccinated against the virus, AP notes.

Keep reading... Show less

Major companies ask Colorado residents not to apply for remote positions

Major companies have said in recent job postings that Colorado residents are ineligible to apply for certain remote positions because a new state law requires businesses to disclose the expected salary or pay range for positions, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The law, which went into effect in January, is meant to help close the gender wage gap and to promote wage transparency for employees, but companies have said Coloradans need not apply to avoid disclosing the information.

Keep reading... Show less

In photos: Communities across nation celebrate Juneteenth

People across the country are celebrating Juneteenth National Independence Day.

The big picture: The date, June 19, memorializes when some of the last enslaved people in Texas learned about their freedom under the Emancipation Proclamation in 1865.

Keep reading... Show less

Separate and unequal paths to business

When a bank turned down George Johnson for a business loan, he got creative. He returned and told the bank he needed $250 to take his wife on a vacation — and was approved. Then he invested the cash in his business, which became the first Black enterprise to trade on the American Stock Exchange.

Why it matters: The highways to success in the U.S. market economy — in entrepreneurship, corporate leadership and wealth creation — are often punctuated with roadblocks and winding detours for people of color.

Keep reading... Show less

Attempting to reform gig work via co-ops

Ride-hailing service The Drivers Cooperative recently debuted in New York City, claiming that its lack of VC funding would result in better driver pay and lower passenger costs.

Why it matters: TDC’s approach is a direct rebuke to the venture capital-fueled gig economy model.

Keep reading... Show less

Conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi elected Iran's president

Hardliner Ebrahim Raisi easily won Friday's presidential election in Iran, recording 62% of the vote with more than 90% of ballots counted.

Why it matters: Currently the head of Iran's judiciary, Raisi is a close confidant of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and has the support of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). His victory solidifies him as a leading candidate to succeed Khamenei, though Friday's low turnout speaks to the disillusionment of many Iranian voters.

Keep reading... Show less

Juneteenth and the country enslaved labor built on the backs of Black Americans

Juneteenth, a once-obscure commemoration of emancipation of enslaved people in Texas, has transformed into an annual reminder about how slavery robbed Black Americans of generational wealth.

Why it matters: That lack of generational wealth still denies Black families the economic security that many white families take for granted.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories