Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister, State of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hopes to visit Morocco before Israeli elections on April 9.

Reports of ‘secret’ meetings circulated last September in New York persist but Israeli officials remain silent about a country not officially recognising Israel.

The Foreign Ministry has, as yet, declined to comment on a potential visit.

However an official trip would be viewed an important landmark in Netanyahu’s burgeoning diplomatic relations globally.

Bilateral ties with Rabat were established after the Oslo Accords in the mid 1990s but ceased following the Second Intifada a decade later but trade and tourism relations are in place.

Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, Professor of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University reportedly told The Media Line that there were “common interests” with Morocco, including

security matters, Rabat recognised Jewish contributions to Moroccan culture and King Mohammed VI had promoted Holocaust education in schools.

“The Moroccan government has an interest in reminding its citizens and the rest of the world that it looks fondly upon the Jewish population,” Maddy-Weitzman explained.

Morocco is also keen to meet Netanyahu due to Israel’s relationship with US President Donald Trump’s administration.

“Israel is seen as a path to Washington,” Maddy-Weitzman noted.

But Israel’s biggest issue in developing ties with Morocco is the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians.

“Even if Netanyahu’s trip is successful, its potential will still be limited in the long-run if the conflict isn’t resolved,” said Einat Levi, a researcher at the Mitvim Institute.

Maddy-Weitzman is doubtful Netanyahu’s visit will take place as it would trigger criticism from movements seeking to boycott Israel or from Arab countries in the region.

By Howard Lawrence