Gantz, Ashkenazi Sidelined in Moroccan Deal

YERUSHALAYIM -
Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi in Feb, 2020. (Gili Yaari / Flash90)

A disconnect at the highest echelons appeared again on Thursday amid reports that Defense Minister Gantz and Foreign Minister Ashkenazi were being updated on the Moroccan breakthrough by the White House rather than Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.‏‏

A spokesperson for Ashkenazi seemed to say as much: “Defense Minister Gantz and Foreign Minister Ashkenazi were updated a few weeks ago by the White House about contacts toward a deal with Morocco. Today they were updated on the deal coming together by the White House ahead of President Trump’s announcement,” the spokesperson says in a statement to journalists.”

Gantz and Ashkenazi had been kept in the dark about the negotiations with the Emirates and Bahrain, as well as a secret trip by Netanyahu to Saudi Arabia in a failed attempt to bring them onto the bandwagon.

Ashkenazi said that “today is another great day for Israeli diplomacy, a day of light befitting the holiday of Hanukkah.

“Renewing relations between Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco is an important part of the Abraham Accords that reflects the deep and longstanding friendship between the nations. I call on more nations to join the Abraham Accords’ circle,” he said.

Ashkenazi added that he would like to light Hanukkah candles at the Israeli embassy in Rabat next year.