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Israeli intelligence officer negotiates with Morocco on Sahara position 

January 28, 2023 at 9:34 am

Image of Sahara sunrise [Khalidou/Wikipedia]

Reliable Moroccan media sources revealed the efforts made by Israel to raise its representation in the Moroccan capital, Rabat, to the level of an embassy. It noted that Rabat’s condition for this is Israel’s official and open recognition of Morocco’s claim to the Sahara Desert.

Moroccan newspaper Al-Ayyam 24 reported on Friday that this file re-emerged with the formation of Netanyahu’s new government and the appointment of Ronen Levy, a senior and former secret official of the Israeli General Security Service Shin Bet and the architect of the Abraham Accords, to the position of the general directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The newspaper disclosed: “Levy’s mission does not stop at raising the level of diplomatic cooperation with the Kingdom of Morocco, but also about negotiating with the strict Moroccan condition that Rabat places on Netanyahu’s table, which is the full recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over its desert.”

According to the newspaper, Levy is considered one of the most prominent Israeli officials that Tel Aviv relies upon to increase cooperation with Morocco and a number of Arab countries. This is due to his strong relations with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and the Moroccan monarch’s senior advisor, Fouad Ali El Himma.

Last week, The Jerusalem Post revealed the identity of Levy, who is one of the most powerful officials in Shin Bet. He was recently appointed to the new Israeli government due to his great role in linking Israel with several countries, the most important of which is Morocco, as well as relying on it to persuade Saudi Arabia to establish relations with Tel Aviv.

Levy’s identity remained a mystery throughout his career with Shin Bet, at a time when he used his pseudonym “Maoz” in his movements within Arab countries, where he quickly established strong relations with many prominent officials.

Israel reached an agreement with Morocco, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Sudan as part of the Abraham Accords in 2020, which led to the establishment of full diplomatic relations.

READ: US expresses support for political solution in Western Sahara

Tel Aviv held the Negev Summit in March 2022 in the Negev, southern Israel, attended by the foreign ministers of Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain, the UAE and the US. The six countries agreed to hold the summit annually.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen announced that Morocco would host the Second Negev Summit in March.

On 10 December, 2020, former US President Donald Trump announced his country’s recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara territory and the opening of a US consulate in the city of Dakhla, in the disputed territory between Rabat and the Polisario Front.

The Polisario Front and Rabat are fighting over the Sahara region. The latter insists on its right to the area and proposes expanded autonomy under its sovereignty, while the Polisario calls for the organisation of a referendum for self-determination.

In 1975, a conflict began between Morocco and the Polisario Front over the Sahara region after the Spanish occupation ended its presence in the region, turning the dispute into an armed conflict that lasted until 1991 with the signing of a ceasefire.