newsMiddle East

Israel apologizes after PM uses map of Morocco without Western Sahara

The Foreign Ministry calls the depiction an "unintentional mistake" and "technical error."

Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana (left) and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita meet in Rabat, June 8, 2023. Source: X.
Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana (left) and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita meet in Rabat, June 8, 2023. Source: X.

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem issued an apology on Friday following an uproar in Moroccan media over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s use of a map during a recent interview that did not depict Western Sahara as part of Morocco.

The controversy erupted after Netanyahu appeared on France’s LCI channel on Thursday evening, holding a map of Morocco that excluded the Western Sahara. This contradicted Israel’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the region just over a year ago in a letter from Netanyahu himself to King Mohammed VI.

Israel and Morocco signed their first intellectual property agreement on July 18, 2022. Photo by Nathan Chicheportiche/Israel in Geneva.

The Moroccan website Hiba Press accused Netanyahu of “once again provoking the Moroccans” with the “truncated map, without [Western] Sahara,” as he discussed the Middle East situation and the Hamas war. Another popular news outlet claimed Netanyahu looked angry while holding a map that did not include Morocco’s “southern regions.”

Social media users in Morocco condemned the Israeli leader’s conduct, saying the kingdom does not need recognition of its claims from the “occupying entity.”

Responding to the outcry, the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Arabic spokesperson Hassan Kaabia apologized on X for the map depiction, calling it an “unintentional mistake” and “technical error.”

Kaabia conveyed a message directly to King Mohammed, saying he wished to clarify the situation and apologize for the mistake. He reaffirmed the close relationship between Israel and the North African nation, emphasizing that Israel stands firmly by its previous recognition of Western Sahara as rightfully part of Morocco.

The decades-old Western Sahara conflict pits Morocco, which controls most of the territory and offers autonomy under its sovereignty, against the Algeria-backed Polisario Front demanding an independence referendum for the local Sahrawi population.

In 2020, the Trump administration broke with past U.S. neutrality by recognizing Morocco’s sovereignty claim as part of normalizing ties between Israel and Morocco.

Originally published by Israel Hayom.

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates