A C-130 Hercules transport plane belonging to the Moroccan Air Force landed in Israel Sunday morning, July 4, to participate in multilateral military exercises. The landing of the aircraft at the Hatzor Airbase near Ashdod marked the first time that a Moroccan military plane has been observed arriving in Israel.
An military spokesperson for Israel said that its forces “[cooperate] with a variety of countries and foreign armies in exercises and training, meetings of senior officers, and research and joint development… Given the sensitivity of this exercise, we will not address the identities of the countries participating.”
After a 20-year lull in diplomatic relations, Israel and Morocco renewed their ties late last year, amidst a wave of normalization agreements sponsored by US imperialism with other Arab countries.
While Israel and Morocco had not in the past enjoyed full relations — with diplomatic offices in each other’s capital instead of embassies — the two countries did maintain close official ties until these were formally suspended by Morocco in 2000 with the outbreak of the Second Intifada.
However, despite this official posturing, Morocco and Israel maintained close military, diplomatic and economic ties for decades, both before and after the turn of the century. From 2000 until 2020, a number of secret and not-so-secret visits were made by officials from both countries, such as the visit by then-Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom to Rabat in 2003. On July 4, 2007, then Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met her Moroccan counterpart, Mohamed Benaissa, in Paris. In February 2019, Israeli Channel 13 reported that the then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly met with the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita, in New York, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.