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Netanyahu has ‘friendly’ call with Morocco’s king, invites him to visit Israel after normalization deal

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Morocco's King Mohammed VI (Photo by AFP)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has invited Morocco’s King Mohammed VI to Tel Aviv in the wake of the US-sponsored normalization deal between the regime and the North African country.

Netanyahu made the invitation in a phone conversation with the Morocco’s King.

During the “warm and friendly” conversation, the two agreed to continue contacts in order to advance the normalization agreement in the weeks ahead, a statement from Netanyahu's office said.

The statement noted that they congratulated each other over the renewal of mutual ties, the signing of the joint statement with the United States as well as bilateral agreements.

“In addition, the processes and mechanisms to implement the agreements were determined,” the statement added.

A statement from Morocco's royal cabinet confirmed Friday's phone conversation, but did not mention Netanyahu's invitation.

King Mohammed VI, the statement said, “recalled the strong and special links between the Jewish community of Moroccan origin and the Moroccan monarchy.”

He reiterated “the consistent, unwavering and unchanged position of the Kingdom of Morocco on the Palestinian issue and the pioneering role of the kingdom in promoting peace and stability in the Middle East.”

On Wednesday, Moroccan Minister of Tourism Nadia Fettah Alaoui said direct flights between Morocco and Israel are expected to be launched within two to three months.

“We welcome all Israeli tourists who want to come to Morocco,” Morocco’s official Maghreb Arabe Press news agency quoted the minister as saying.

Fettah Alaoui added that her department has started a study on the Israeli tourism market as well as preparation for special tourist guides.

Israeli envoys arrived in Morocco on December 22 to meet its king and hammer out the upgrade in ties.

The Israeli delegation, led by national security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, was accompanied by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and architect of Arabs’ normalization deals with Israel.

Four bilateral deals were signed between Israel and Morocco, centering on direct air links, water management, connecting financial systems and a visa waiver arrangement for diplomats.

Israel and Morocco agreed on December 10 to normalize relations in a deal brokered by the United States, making the North African country the fourth Arab state this year to strike a deal aimed at establishment of relations with Israel. The others were the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

Trump sealed the agreement in a phone call with Morocco’s King Mohammed VI. As part of the agreement, the US president agreed to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara region.

Algeria later rejected Trump's stance, saying the step would undermine efforts to end the conflict over the desert territory.

The Algerian Foreign Ministry said the US decision “has no legal effect because it contradicts UN resolutions, especially UN Security Council resolutions on Western Sahara.”

“The proclamation would undermine the de-escalation efforts made at all levels in order to pave the way for launching a real political process,” the ministry said in a statement.

Additionally, the Palestinian Hamas resistance movement reacted to announcement that Morocco will normalize relations with Israel, denouncing the deal.

 “This is a sin and it doesn’t serve the Palestinian people. The Israeli occupation uses every new normalization deal to increase its aggression against the Palestinian people and increase its settlement expansion,” Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman said at the time.

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