News Release

Trump: Paying Off Morocco with Western Sahara to Recognize Israel

Today, Trump tweeted that he “signed a proclamation recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara” and that Israel and Morocco “have agreed to full diplomatic relations.”

STEPHEN ZUNES, zunes@usfca.edu@SZunes
Zunes is co-author of Western Sahara: War, Nationalism, and Conflict Irresolution. He said today: “The United States has become essentially the only country to formally recognize Morocco’s illegal annexation of Western Sahara, the former Spanish colony forcibly seized by Moroccan forces in 1975. Trump’s proclamation is directly counter to a series of UN Security Council resolutions and a landmark World Court ruling calling for self-determination. As with his earlier recognition of Israeli conquests, Trump is effectively renouncing long standing international legal principles in favor of the right of conquest.

“The decision was apparently in return for Morocco’s decision to formally recognize Israel, a country which is also an occupying power. Trump has similarly broken precedent by recognizing Israel’s illegal annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights. Today’s recognition of the annexation of an entire country, which has been recognized as an independent state by no less than 80 countries, is a particularly dangerous precedent.

“Trump cites Morocco’s ‘autonomy plan’ as ‘serious, credible, and realistic’ and ‘the ONLY basis for a just and lasting solution’ even though it falls way short of the international legal definition of autonomy and in effect would simply continue the occupation.”

Zunes’ piece “The East Timor Model Offers a Way out for Western Sahara and Morocco” was just published by Foreign Policy. See Zunes’ writings on Western Sahara including his piece “Morocco continues occupation of Western Sahara, in defiance of UN.”

Shortly after Nelson Mandela was freed from prison in 1990, he addressed the UN General Assembly on June 22 of that year, stating: “We also take this opportunity to extend warm greetings to all others who fight for their liberation and their human rights, including the peoples of Palestine and Western Sahara. We commend their struggles to you, convinced that we are all moved by the fact that freedom is indivisible, convinced that the denial of the rights of one diminishes the freedom of others.” Video clip.