Israel and Morocco defense cooperation deepens

INS Nachshon credit: IDF Spokesperson
INS Nachshon credit: IDF Spokesperson

The Israel Navy's new landing craft, the INS Komemiyut, called in at Tangier for supplies, when sailing between the US and Israel.

The Israel Navy's new landing craft, the INS Komemiyut, which arrived in Israel this week from the US, did so after calling into Morocco to take on supplies, according to information received by "Globes" from sources familiar with the matter, and backed up by the ship's records on the Vessel Finder website.

As part of the ship's stop on the long way from Pascagoula in Mississippi to the naval base in Haifa, the crew stocked up on fuel and food for the rest of the journey to Israel, which was completed on Sunday.

The supplies and equipment were taken aboard in Tangier, the busiest port in Africa, which is south of the Strait of Gibraltar. At this stage in the voyage, the vessel turned off its position transponder.

Globes has learned that the first of the two landing craft procured by Israel, which arrived in Haifa last September, the INS Nachshon, also docked en route in Morocco.

The landing craft are a new-old means that the IDF is being equipping with, designed for the rapid unloading of forces ashore. The new amphibious vehicles are about 95 meters long, 20 meters wide and weigh more than 2,500 tons. The team of the landing craft consists of dozens of naval combat soldiers, with a quarter of them being female. The commanding officer of the vessel is at the rank of Lieutenant Commander

The landing craft are part of the navy's adaptation to multi-arena warfare that could be even more severe than the current war in Gaza, requiring logistical transport of equipment and the transport of combat soldiers to destinations such as Lebanon, or other countries.

Building of the landing craft began about five years ago, after the procurement delegation of the Ministry of Defense purchased them from a US shipyard using US aid funds, which amounts to $3.3 billion annually.

Spain refused

About a month ago Spain's Minister of Transport Oscar Fuente announced that the cargo ship Marian Danica, flying the Danish flag, which had asked to dock in Cartagena, was refused because according to Spanish newspaper "El Pais" it carried 27 tons of explosives bound for Israel.

If not for attacks by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, the ship would not have passed through Spain's economic waters but it had been diverted via the Cape of Good Hope, and from there to Gibraltar. The lengthening of the route led to the need to stop for supplies, but the authorities in Madrid did not approve.

Last weekend, 116 marches took place in 48 cities throughout Morocco, as part of a broad anti-Israel protest. Behind the pro-Palestinian demonstrations is a body called the Moroccan Organization for the Defense of the Nation's Issues, a name with pan-Islamic connotations. The same organization said that they organized the protest, so that it would "express the solidarity of the Moroccan people with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian issue."

The image of Israel in the eyes of the Moroccan street can be learned from a report by the Arab Barometer Institute, which was published recently. The survey indicated, among other things, that Moroccans' support for normalization between Israel and the Arab states dropped from 31% in 2022 to 13%. Moreover, only 24% of respondents define the war in Gaza as a war, while 54% see it as a "massacre", "genocide" or "mass killing".

Procuring arms from Israel

In recent years, Moroccan-Israeli relations have gained momentum with massive Moroccan procurement of Israeli-made weapons.

Data from the Ministry of Defense International Defense Cooperation Directorate (SIBAT) published this week, shows that there was a drop in exports to the countries of the Abraham Accords in 2023, from 24% of all exports in 2022 to only 3%. But a global analysis by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) found that between 2019 and 2023 Israel was the third biggest source of imports in volume for Morocco with 11% of Rabat's total imports.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on June 19, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

INS Nachshon credit: IDF Spokesperson
INS Nachshon credit: IDF Spokesperson
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