Saturday, May 21st | 20 Iyyar 5782

December 10, 2020 2:08 pm

‘Peace Has Never Shone Brighter Than Today in Middle East’: Israeli PM Hails Morocco Normalization Deal

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman mark the first night of Hanukkah, at the Western Wall, in Jerusalem’s Old City, Dec. 10, 2020. Photo: Emil Salman / Pool via Reuters.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu effusively welcomed on Thursday the normalization agreement with Morocco after it was announced by US President Donald Trump.

Speaking at a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Netanyahu — standing next to US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman — said, “I’ve always believed that this historic day would come, I’ve always worked for it.”

“I want to first thank President Trump for his extraordinary efforts to expand peace, to bring peace to Israel and the peoples of the Middle East,” Netanyahu continued. “President Trump, the people of Israel and the State of Israel will be forever indebted to you for your magnificent efforts on our behalf.”

“I want to thank, too, the King of Morocco, King Mohammed VI, for taking this historic decision to bring a historic peace between us,” the Israeli leader went on to say. “The people of Morocco and the Jewish people have had a warm relationship in the modern period. Everybody knows the tremendous friendship shown by the kings of Morocco and the people of Morocco to the Jewish community there. And hundreds of thousands of these Moroccan Jews came to Israel, and they form a human bridge between our two countries and our two peoples, of sympathy respect, of fondness and love. I think that this is the foundation on which we can now build this peace.”

“We’ll resume liaison offices quickly between Israel and Morocco and work as rapidly as possible to establish full diplomatic relations,” Netanyahu added. “We’ll also institute direct flights between Morocco and Israel and Israel and Morocco, giving this bridge of peace an even more solid foundation.”

“This will be a very warm peace,” he predicted. “Peace has never — the light of peace on this Hanukkah day has never — shone brighter than today in the Middle East.”

Meanwhile, in New York, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan spoke by phone with his Moroccan counterpart, Omar Hilale, to mark the occasion.

“I want to congratulate you on the peace agreement, this is a really exciting moment,” Erdan told Hilale. “The formal relationship between our two countries might just be starting, but the ties between our people are deep. There is a large community of Jews of Moroccan heritage in Israel and this is a dream come true for them. They have always remained proud of their roots and we, as Israelis, have embraced their rich culture.”

“Together with the US administration and under Prime Minister Netanyahu’s leadership, we are all building a better future for our children and for the world,” he added.

Morocco is the fourth Arab country this year to agree to normalize ties with Israel, following the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

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