Israelis `trained Moroccan agents'

KING HASSAN'S death last Friday has spawned a mass of revelations about the clandestine links between the Moroccan and Israeli secret services.

The relationship, which stretched back almost 40 years, went beyond simple exchanges of intelligence on common Middle Eastern enemies. Israel reportedly trained Moroccan agents, supplied the king with tanks, and played a key - if subordinate - role in the assassination of an opposition leader.

Secret contacts began in 1961 under King Hassan's father, Mohammed V, who allowed tens of thousands of Moroccan Jews to emigrate to Israel. His son broadened and institutionalised the links after Meir Amit, the then head of Mossad, Israel's external security service, stole into Marrakesh to meet him in 1964.

Local and foreign reports this week revealed just how deep the mutually beneficial relationship went. Much of the detail has never been published before. Mossad provided technical assistance and training for its Moroccan sister organisation, as well as information on dissidents plotting to assassinate the young king.

Yossi Melman, co-author of a study of Israeli intelligence, disclosed in the liberal daily Ha'aretz that Mossad also relayed material on the subversive intentions of Egypt's revolutionary leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser.

According to Oded Granot, a writer on Arab affairs in the tabloid Ma'ariv, Mossad delivered more than 100 light tanks to Morocco in the Sixties to strengthen King Hassan in his conflict with Algeria over the Spanish Sahara.

Relations cooled in 1965, when Mossad's hand was revealed in the murder of one of King Hassan's political foes, Mahdi Ben-Barqa. Israel, according to another Ha'aretz writer, Amir Oren, helped track him, but did not kill him. The two services distanced themselves from each other, but cooperation soon resumed.

Mr Oren said the Moroccan secret service enabled Mossad to eavesdrop on conversations between national leaders and army officers at an Arab summit called to discuss a united military command. "This surveillance," he wrote, "was critical to the intelligence mosaic that led to Israel's victory in the 1967 Six-Day War."

Relations soured again after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Morocco infuriated Israelis by sending a token brigade to Syria as a gesture of solidarity. But three years later, Yitzhak Rabin became the first Israeli prime minister to pay a clandestine visit to Morocco. Mr Rabin, disguised in a Beatles- style wig and glasses, explored with the king the prospects for peace with Egypt and Jordan.

After Menachem Begin's right-wing Likud party came to power in 1977, King Hassan hosted discreet talks between the then Israeli foreign minister, Moshe Dayan, and Anwar Sadat's special envoy, Hassan Tohami. Mr Dayan slipped in from France, sporting a wig, moustache and dark glasses instead of his eyepatch. The dialogue persuaded Mr Sadat to fly to Jerusalem, paving the way for the 1979 peace treaty.

Although Israel and Morocco have still not established full diplomatic relations, the king openly hosted visits by two Labour prime ministers - Mr Rabin and Shimon Peres - in the Nineties.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
news
Extras
indybest
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Sport
Brendan Rodgers looks on from the touchline
SPORT
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Analyst - Bristol

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick