Moroccan military aircraft lands in Israel for first time to conduct drills
A Moroccan military aircraft has for the first time touched down in Israel, reportedly to take part in a multilateral drill this week, signaling the north African nation's interest in bolstering military ties with the Israeli regime.
Royal Moroccan Air Force C-130 cargo plane belonging to the Moroccan Air Force landed on Sunday at the Hatzor Airbase, also known as Kanaf 4, located near Kibbutz Hatzor in the south.
The plane was visible on public flight-tracking software, where it was quickly spotted by a number of amateur radar watchers, according to media reports.
The Israeli regime’s military has refused to confirm the reports of the arrival of Moroccan aircraft.
“The IDF cooperates with a variety of countries and foreign armies in exercises and training, meetings of senior officers, and research and joint development,” a spokesperson for the Israeli military said in a statement.
He refused to disclose the identities of the participating countries, terming the exercise “sensitive”.
The North African country in December last year began renewing relations with the Israeli regime as part of the so-called Abraham Accords, becoming the fourth Muslim-majority country after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan to do so.
The two sides also agreed to restart direct flights as part of a deal brokered by former US president Donald Trump, which included Washington's recognition of Moroccan "sovereignty" over Western Sahara.
The US is Morocco’s largest arms supplier, followed by France, which explains why the US pressure on Morocco to normalize ties with the Israeli regime worked.
The Israeli regime and Rabat enjoyed official ties until Morocco suspended them following the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000.
The normalization, which came after 20 years of lull, was widely criticized and seen as a betrayal to the Palestinian cause.
Moroccans too expressed their indignation, emphasizing that the normalization was a trade-off between the Palestinian state and Western Sahara, with many using hashtag ‘normalization is treason’.
Moroccan troops took part in the fight against Israel in the 1973 Arab-Israel War, which involved a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria against the occupiers.