polisario condemns israel's recognition of moroccan sovereignty in western sahara

Polisario condemns Israel’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty in Western Sahara

The Algerian-backed Polisario movement has stated that Israel’s decision to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over the contested Western Sahara is meaningless. “Such a position emanating from the Zionist entity or any other party to legitimise the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara is null and void,” the “Sahrawi Ministry of Information” said in a statement on Wednesday (July 19). “Such a position emanating from the Zionist entity or any other party to legitimise the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara is null and void.”

Citing a letter from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the royal government in Rabat announced on Monday that Israel has decided to “recognize Morocco’s sovereignty” over the mineral-rich desert territory. The region is located in the Sahara Desert. Israel confirmed the details in the statement that came from Morocco when AFP contacted them.

In a statement that was released on Wednesday and published by Algeria’s official APS news agency, the Polisario said that the event will “only strengthen the determination of the Sahrawi people to pursue their national struggle on several fronts.” The document condemned what it called “subversive joint security and military manoeuvres aimed at destabilising the North African region and the Sahel in general.”

According to the Polisario, the Israeli government’s acceptance of Moroccan sovereignty over the contested territory was “a non-event.” This move does not contribute anything of value to Rabat. On the contrary, it simply makes it appear worse, as it verifies the affiliation of a state with an entity that occupies, both of them employing the military, the Western Sahara and Palestine”, the Sahrawi Ministry of Information” stated.

The organisation that is in a territorial dispute with Morocco over Western Sahara further stated that it lamented what it called a “scornful” decision given the “anger of millions of Moroccans who hold Palestine and Al-Quds [The Arabic name for Jerusalem, one of Islam’s holiest cities] dear” to their hearts. The conflict over Western Sahara can be traced back to 1975, when the colonial authority of Spain withdrew from the territory. This event set off a battle that lasted for 15 years between Morocco and the Polisario, an organisation that supports Western Sahara’s independence.

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Algeria is supporting the Polisario Front in this battle that they are involved in. The United Nations was to oversee a self-determination referendum under the terms of the 1991 ceasefire agreement, but this has not yet happened. Rabat maintains authority over around 80 percent of Western Sahara and asserts that the entire region, which is rich in phosphates and fisheries, is an integral part of its own sovereign state.

The Polisario Front has not backed down from its demand that the referendum be held under the supervision of the United Nations. After months of tension and after Morocco normalised relations with Israel as part of a series of treaties with Arab states known as the Abraham Accords, Algeria and Morocco severed their diplomatic ties in 2021. This came after months of tense relations between the two countries. Over the course of the past few years, Morocco has made significant diplomatic advances.