An Israeli Ofek 13 intelligence Satellite being launched in March

In the throes of ongoing conflict in Gaza, Israel is strengthening its strategic security alliance with Morocco, marking a significant milestone in their bilateral relations. According to reputable foreign sources, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is set to deliver an advanced intelligence satellite to Morocco as part of a monumental deal valued at approximately one billion dollars.

Unveiling the Deal

The French publication La Tribune recently reported that Israel and Morocco finalized this landmark agreement at the close of 2023, with official signatures affixed in recent days. This state-of-the-art IAI satellite, slated for delivery in about five years, is poised to replace Morocco's current Airbus satellitesโ€”Mohammed VI-A and Mohammed VI-B. This move by Morocco signifies a robust enhancement of its military prowess across air, land, and sea defenses.

Financial and Strategic Implications

On Tuesday, IAI disclosed to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange a new contract with an undisclosed entity, detailing milestone-based payments over a five-year period. While the announcement was shrouded in secrecy, security insiders confirmed to the Israeli business news publication Calcalistconfirmed to the Israeli business news publication Calcalist that this disclosure pertains to the groundbreaking satellite deal with Morocco. Calcalist further unveiled that IAI Chairman Amir Peretz covertly traveled to Morocco via a European intermediary to finalize the agreement, underscoring the deal's high-level confidentiality until now.

The Abraham Accords' Influence

Morocco, a key participant in the "Abraham Accords," has normalized its relations with Israel, transforming years of clandestine interactions into open collaboration. This evolving relationship has already borne fruit, with IAI previously securing a deal to supply the advanced Barak 8 air defense system to Morocco for half a billion dollars. Most components of this sophisticated system have already been delivered to the Moroccan military. 

The collaboration between Morocco and Israel has caused some protests within the North African country. Yesterday, a mostly peaceful protest broke out against the Moroccan King allowing an Israeli ship to dock and refuel. While it did garner significant media coverage, the size and scope of the protest was not significant enough to sway authorities who are committed to the Israeli-Moroccan peace and the overarching Abraham Accords.

Strategic Connections and Future Prospects

Calcalist reported that Peretz's pivotal role in advancing both the Barak 8 system and the satellite deals hinged on his strategic connections with Morocco's senior officials. IAI's extensive expertise in developing and manufacturing intelligence and communication satellites, particularly within its missile and space division, positions it as a key player in global defense. Among its notable projects, IAI boasts the development and production of the Ofek series of intelligence satellites, integral to Israel's defense infrastructure.

Secrecy and Speculation

In response to inquiries about Peretz's clandestine trip to Morocco for the satellite deal, IAI remained tight-lipped, stating, "The company does not comment on reports about its transactions and does not provide information about trips made by the chairman."

This monumental deal between Israel and Morocco not only fortifies their security collaboration but also signals a significant shift in geopolitical dynamics, reflecting the deepening ties fostered under the Abraham Accords. As Israel and Morocco continue to bolster their military capabilities, this satellite deal stands as a testament to their shared commitment to regional stability and security.

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