How the world reacted to the announcement that Morocco will normalize relations with Israel in an agreement negotiated by the United States.
Morocco’s decision to normalize relations with Israel in a US-brokered deal has sparked mixed global reactions.
On Thursday, Morocco became the fourth Arab country since August to reach an agreement aimed at normalizing relations with Israel. The others were the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.
As part of the agreement, US President Donald Trump agreed to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, where there has been a decades-long territorial dispute with Morocco pitted against the Algerian-backed Polisario Front, a separatist movement seeking to establish a independent government. been in the territory.
The Palestinians have been critical of the normalization accords, saying that Arab countries have pushed back the cause of peace by abandoning a longstanding demand that Israel cede land to a Palestinian state before it can receive recognition.
Bassam al-Salhi, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, condemned the agreement.
“Any Arab withdrawal from the  The Arab Peace Initiative, which stipulates that normalization occurs only after Israel ends its occupation of Arab and Palestinian lands, is unacceptable and increases Israel’s belligerence and its denial of the rights of the Palestinian people, ”al-Salhi said. .
In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said: “This is a sin and does not serve the Palestinian people. The Israeli occupation uses each new normalization to increase its aggression against the Palestinian people and increase the expansion of their settlements.
The Polisario, which is made up of the local Sahrawi people and waged a war for independence from 1975 to 1991, condemned “in the strongest terms” Trump’s attempt to give Morocco “what does not belong to him.”
“Trump’s decision does not change the legal nature of the Sahara problem because the international community does not recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara,” the statement read.
The Polisario, which is seeking a referendum on self-determination, has the support of neighboring Algeria, which has also hosted thousands of Sahrawi refugees.
Morocco controls 80 percent of the disputed land, including phosphate deposits and fishing waters.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, whose country has been linked since 1979 by a peace treaty with Israel, welcomed the announcement.
El-Sisi hailed the agreement as an “important step towards greater regional stability and cooperation” in the Middle East.
Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya welcomed the announcement, but rejected Trump’s recognition of Western Sahara as part of Moroccan territory.
“Regarding the normalization of relations between Morocco and Israel, we welcome that normalization, as we have welcomed each and every one of the normalizations that have taken place in recent weeks,” Laya said.
“With regard to peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, that remains an unresolved issue. And the question of Western Sahara remains unsolved. And in both cases, Spain’s position is very clear that United Nations resolutions must be sought as a way to resolve these two issues, ”he added.
Spain was the occupying power of Western Sahara until 1975, when the country ceded administrative control to a joint administration of Morocco and Mauritania.
The country maintains close ties with the Sahrawi people and many activists have studied in Spain over the years.
The United Nations
Following the announcement, the UN said its position “has not changed” in the disputed Western Sahara region.
The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, believes that “the solution to the issue can still be found on the basis of Security Council resolutions,” said his spokesman.
The message from the UN chief to both parties “is to avoid any action that could further aggravate a tense situation,” the spokesman added.