Israeli minister to visit Morocco, boost defense ties

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Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz will visit Morocco later this month and sign an agreement with his counterpart on enhancing security cooperation, his office said Tuesday.

Morocco was one of four Arab countries that agreed to normalize ties with Israel last year under the so-called Abraham Accords brokered by the Trump administration, along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

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Gantz is expected in Morocco Nov. 24-25. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid visited Morocco in August to inaugurate a diplomatic liaison office in the capital, Rabat.

Israel and Morocco had low-level diplomatic relations in the 1990s, but Morocco cut them off after the second Palestinian uprising erupted in 2000.

The two countries maintained informal ties, with thousands of Israelis traveling to Morocco each year. Hundreds of thousands of Israeli Jews are of Moroccan descent, and the African country is still home to a small Jewish community.

The Abraham Accords have been widely hailed as a breakthrough in Mideast diplomacy, with Israel and the Biden administration saying they hope to reach similar agreements with other Arab nations.

The accords shattered a longstanding Arab consensus that normalization should only be granted as part of a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Because of that, the Palestinians view the agreements as a betrayal that eroded their leverage with Israel.

Read more: Israel lifts its decade-long travel warning for Morocco

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