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Morocco

Introduction:

 

Israel and Morocco keep cooperation in agriculture, tourism and security. In 2020 both countries signed a normalization deal. Most security cooperation between Morocco and Israel is conducted secretly and involves mostly the exchange of intelligence information and the trade of weapons like electronic warfare, communications and control system. In 2013 the Moroccan Air Force acquired three Heron drones for $50m, that were delivered through France in 2020. According to reports, Moroccan authorities used the Israeli Pegasus spyware from the company NSO Group for unlawful targeting of activists, human rights defenders and journalists between 2017-2020.

Israel – Morocco Relations:

 

Between 1994-2000, the two countries operated cooperation-offices in Tel Aviv and Rabat but Morocco stopped all official ties at October 2000.[1] In December 2020 the US announced that Israel and Morocco have agreed to establish diplomatic relations. Israel and Morocco plan to reopen economic liaison offices.[2]  In addition, US President Donald Trump announced that he signed a proclamation recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara, a disputed territory.[3]

Both countries kept cooperation in matters like tourism, agriculture, culture and academy. Many Israeli companies that were still active in Morocco after the year 2000, are not listed as Israeli companies there.[4] Morocco’s trade with Israel totaled $58m in 2016 and $37m in 2017 according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics.[5] In 2018 Israel imported $68m in Moroccan goods and exported $5m.[6]

Few open and secret meetings between senior Moroccan and Israeli officials took place since the year 2000. In 2003, Israel’s foreign minister Silvan Shalom visited Morocco. In 2009 Israeli and Moroccan foreign ministers secretly met in New York. News agencies reported that in February 2019 Israel’s premier minister Benyamin Netanyahu had a secret meeting with Morocco’s minister for foreign affairs, Nasser Borita, in New York.[7] Also was reported that an official visit of Netanyahu in Morocco was planned for March 2019 but was cancelled last minute.

Military relations:

 

Most of the security cooperation between Morocco and Israel was conducted secretly and therefor it is impossible to outline the scale and character of military cooperation. According to public foreign sources, security cooperation between the two countries involves mostly the exchange of intelligence information and the trade of weapons. In a report by the British Department for Business, Innovation and Skills from 2014, it is claimed that Israel sold to Morocco electronic warfare, communication, and control systems through a third party.[8] [9]

In 2013 the Moroccan Air Force acquired three Heron drones for $50m from IAI, which were transferred from Israel through France in January 2020. They will be deployed in the Western Sahara, reports say.[10]

In October 2019 Amnesty International reported that Moroccan human right defenders were targeted with Spyware of the Israeli company NSO Group since 2017. [11]  [12]

In March 2020 Israeli officials attended an anti-terrorism conference in Morocco.

Usage by Israeli Arms:

EL/M-2032 – In use on F-5E combat jets by the Royal Moroccan Air Force

Heron – In use by Royal Moroccan Air Force. will be used in the Western Sahara for surveillance of terrorist activity by separatist groups.

Pegasus – According to Amnesty International Moroccan authorities used the Israeli Pegasus spyware from the company NSO Group for unlawful targeting of activists, human rights defenders and journalists like Omar Radi, Maati Monjib and Abdessadak El Bouchattaoui between 2017-2020.[13] [14]

Human Rights Violations:


According to Amnesty International in 2019 Moroccan authorities harassed journalists, bloggers, artists and activists for expressing their views peacefully, sentencing at least five to prison terms for “insulting” public officials and apparently targeting others with spyware. They restricted the rights to freedom of association and assembly by preventing some groups critical of the authorities from operating and using unnecessary or excessive force to disperse demonstrations in Morocco and Western Sahara. Following an unfair trial, a court upheld prison sentences of up to 20 years against 43 people convicted in relation to social justice protests in 2017 in the northern Rif region.

Security forces arrested and detained thousands of migrants, forcibly transferring some to the south of Morocco and others to other countries. They forcibly transferred over 11,000 to the south of the country and expelled over 1,000 to their countries of origin, allegedly without following due process in many cases.

Women continued to face discrimination, including sexual and other gender-based violence, and prison sentences were issued in relation to alleged illegal abortions. Police continued to harass lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) people; same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults remained a criminal offence. A new law confirmed Amazigh as an official language, alongside Arabic.

The Western Sahara:

Moroccan forces and the Polisario Front, an armed group demanding independence for Western Sahara, have been fighting over the disputed territory – a vast area bordering Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria that was previously under Spanish control – for decades.[15]  It is claimed by Morocco despite international opposition and fierce resistance from the indigenous population. Years of military affront between Morocco and the Polisario followed, leading to Morocco controlling 80% of the territory until the United Nations (UN) intervened. The conflict pushed most Sahrawis to seek refuge in Algeria, near the town of Tindouf, where they settled in camps organised by the Polisario and partly funded by the UN. About 180,000 people still live there to this day.[16] In the parts of the territory controlled by Rabat, Sahrawis face systematic repression by the authorities. Demonstrations supporting Western Sahara’s self-determination are not permitted.[17]

Beside of that, the Western Sahara, with a population estimated at 350,000 to 500,000, is believed to have considerable offshore oil deposits and mineral resources.

In 2010 Moroccan forces raided the Gadaym Izik camp, using live ammunition, tear gas and water cannons. 20 Saharawi were killed, with around 4,500 injured and 150 missing. [18] [19] 

Fighting resumed in November 2020 after the end of a 30-year ceasefire. Polisario said it was returning to war because Morocco had breached a 1991 ceasefire agreement by sending forces into a demilitarized buffer strip. The purpose of the Morocco incursion was to clear Sahrawi protesters blocking a key highway for trade to sub-Saharan Africa.[20]

Sales Records Table:

1. ^ https://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-203050,00.html

2. ^ https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/israel-morocco-agree-to-normalize-relations-in-latest-us-brokered-deal-651742

3. ^ https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/israel-morocco-agree-to-normalize-relations-in-latest-us-brokered-deal-651742

4. ^ https://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-203050,00.html

5. ^ https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2018/08/251463/morocco-trade-israel-el-khalfi/

6. ^ https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/what-does-israel-stand-to-gain-from-relations-with-morocco-analysis-651979

7. ^ https://13news.co.il/10news/news/182233

8. ^ https://mitvim.org.il/wp-content/uploads/Einat_Levi_-_Israel_and_Morocco_-_Cooperation_Rooted_in_Heritage_-_September_2018.pdf

9. ^ https://www.mako.co.il/pzm-magazine/Article-d7019d19b52e341006.htm

10. ^ https://www.timesofisrael.com/moroccos-military-said-to-receive-3-israeli-reconnaissance-drones/

11. ^ https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/research/2019/10/morocco-human-rights-defenders-targeted-with-nso-groups-spyware/?fbclid=IwAR2C5g8N8gtQIflLRrLIXnq-Ez6ZsfGhFCL10NwVYcyuxD6i-c9x05ZV7yc

12. ^ https://forbiddenstories.org/the-story-behind-the-israeli-spyware-targeting-moroccan-journalists/

13. ^ https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/research/2019/10/morocco-human-rights-defenders-targeted-with-nso-groups-spyware/

14. ^ https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/06/nso-spyware-used-against-moroccan-journalist/

15. ^ https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/11/us-recognised-moroccos-claim-to-western-sahara-now-what

16. ^ https://www.ft.com/content/1ee09602-7f01-4227-a787-0b3c07728cf8

17. ^ https://theconversation.com/morocco-and-western-sahara-a-decades-long-war-of-attrition-122084

18. ^ https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-11746669

19. ^ https://waronwant.org/media/deaths-and-disappearances-saharawis-western-sahara

20. ^ https://www.ft.com/content/1ee09602-7f01-4227-a787-0b3c07728cf8

Morocco

Israel and Morocco keep cooperation in agriculture, tourism and security. In 2020 both countries signed a normalization deal. Most security cooperation between Morocco and Israel is conducted secretly and involves mostly the exchange of intelligence information and the trade of weapons like electronic warfare, communications and control system. In 2013 the Moroccan Air Force acquired three Heron drones for $50m, that were delivered through France in 2020. According to reports, Moroccan authorities used the Israeli Pegasus spyware from the company NSO Group for unlawful targeting of activists, human rights defenders and journalists between 2017-2020.

Between 1994-2000, the two countries operated cooperation-offices in Tel Aviv and Rabat but Morocco stopped all official ties at October 2000.[1] In December 2020 the US announced that Israel and Morocco have agreed to establish diplomatic relations. Israel and Morocco plan to reopen economic liaison offices.[2]  In addition, US President Donald Trump announced that he signed a proclamation recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara, a disputed territory.[3]

Both countries keep cooperation in matters like tourism, agriculture, culture and academy. Many Israeli companies that are still active in Morocco after the year 2000, are not listed as Israeli companies there.[4] Morocco’s trade with Israel totaled $58m in 2016 and $37 million in 2017 according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics.[5] In 2018 Israel imported $68m in Moroccan goods and exported $5m.[6]

Few open and secret meetings between senior Moroccan and Israeli officials took place since the year 2000. In 2003, Israel’s foreign minister Silvan Shalom visited Morocco. In 2009 Israeli and Moroccan foreign ministers secretly met in New York. News agencies reported that in February 2019 Israel’s premier minister Benyamin Netanyahu had a secret meeting with Morocco’s minister for foreign affairs, Nasser Borita, in New York.[7] Also was reported that an official visit of Netanyahu in Morocco was planned for March 2019 but was cancelled because of diplomatic pressure by Algeria and Tunisia.

Most of the security cooperation between Morocco and Israel is conducted secretly and therefor it is impossible to outline the scale and character of military cooperation. According to public foreign sources, security cooperation between the two countries involves mostly the exchange of intelligence information and the trade of weapons. In a report by the British Department for Business, Innovation and Skills from 2014, it is claimed that Israel sold to Morocco electronic warfare, communication, and control systems through a third party.[8] [9]

In 2013 the Moroccan Air Force acquired three Heron drones for $50m from IAI, which were transferred from Israel through France in January 2020. They will be deployed in the Western Sahara, reports say.[10]

In October 2019 Amnesty International reported that human right defenders were targeted with Spyware of the Israeli company NSO Group since 2017. [11]  [12]

In March 2020 Israeli officials attended an anti-terrorism conference in Morocco.

EL/M-2032 – In use on F-5E combat jets by the Royal Moroccan Air Force

Heron – In use by Royal Moroccan Air Force. will be used in the Western Sahara for surveillance of terrorist activity by separatist groups.

Pegasus – According to Amnesty International Moroccan authorities used the Israeli Pegasus spyware from the company NSO Group for unlawful targeting of activists, human rights defenders and journalists like Omar Radi, Maati Monjib and Abdessadak El Bouchattaoui between 2017-2020.[13] [14]

According to Amnesty International in 2019 Moroccan authorities harassed journalists, bloggers, artists and activists for expressing their views peacefully, sentencing at least five to prison terms for “insulting” public officials and apparently targeting others with spyware. They restricted the rights to freedom of association and assembly by preventing some groups critical of the authorities from operating and using unnecessary or excessive force to disperse demonstrations in Morocco and Western Sahara. Following an unfair trial, a court upheld prison sentences of up to 20 years against 43 people convicted in relation to social justice protests in 2017 in the northern Rif region.

Security forces arrested and detained thousands of migrants, forcibly transferring some to the south of Morocco and others to other countries. They forcibly transferred over 11,000 to the south of the country and expelled over 1,000 to their countries of origin, allegedly without following due process in many cases.

Women continued to face discrimination, including sexual and other gender-based violence, and prison sentences were issued in relation to alleged illegal abortions. Police continued to harass lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) people; same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults remained a criminal offence. A new law confirmed Amazigh as an official language, alongside Arabic.

The Western Sahara:

Moroccan forces and the Polisario Front, an armed group demanding independence for Western Sahara, have been fighting over the disputed territory – a vast area bordering Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria that was previously under Spanish control – for decades.[15]  It is claimed by Morocco despite international opposition and fierce resistance from the indigenous population. Years of military affront between Morocco and the Polisario followed, leading to Morocco controlling 80% of the territory until the United Nations (UN) intervened. The conflict pushed most Sahrawis to seek refuge in Algeria, near the town of Tindouf, where they settled in camps organised by the Polisario and partly funded by the UN. About 180,000 people still live there to this day.[16] In the parts of the territory controlled by Rabat, Sahrawis face systematic repression by the authorities. Demonstrations supporting Western Sahara’s self-determination are not permitted.[17]

Beside of that, the Western Sahara, with a population estimated at 350,000 to 500,000, is believed to have considerable offshore oil deposits and mineral resources.

In 2010 Moroccan forces raided the Gadaym Izik camp, using live ammunition, tear gas and water cannons. 20 Saharawi were killed, with around 4,500 injured and 150 missing. [18] [19] 

 Fighting resumed in November 2020 after the end of a 30-year ceasefire. Polisario said it was returning to war because Morocco had breached a 1991 ceasefire agreement by sending forces into a demilitarized buffer strip. The purpose of the Morocco incursion was to clear Sahrawi protesters blocking a key highway for trade to sub-Saharan Africa.[20]