After Trump Morocco Deal, Which Countries Still Don't Recognize Israel?

President Donald Trump won another diplomatic victory for Israel and the U.S. this week, announcing another normalization deal this time signed by Morocco.

The North African nation becomes the fourth nation in recent months to normalize ties with Israel, joining the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan as recent additions to the list.

All were handed something to sweeten the deal, and in Morocco's case Trump recognized Rabat's claim over the disputed Western Sahara region. Reports also suggested the U.S. may have tied approval for the sale of advanced military drones to the country to the Israel deal.

The Trump administration's campaign for normalized ties with Israel is one of its landmark foreign policy agreements. With several weeks until he leaves office, Trump may yet add to his tally and secure more deals for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. There are now 29 United Nations member states that do not have full diplomatic relations with Israel.

Historically, many Arab nations have refused to recognize Israel or establish diplomatic ties with the country. Such nations opposed Israel's creation and protested its seizure of internationally-recognized Palestinian, Egyptian, Lebanese, Jordanian and Syrian land in the various failed wars regional nations and militias have launched to try and smother the young state. Some of this land has been returned, but other portions have not.

These Middle Eastern states have subsequently refused to establish full ties with Israel, citing its continued occupation of seized territory and its treatment of the Palestinians, who remain under de facto Israeli control in the Fatah-controlled West Bank and under a tight Israeli-Egyptian blockade in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, from which various militant groups launch attacks into Israeli territory.

This is, however, beginning to change. Israel has long maintained secret diplomatic ties and security cooperation with regional nations, which are increasingly comfortable formalizing the arrangement.

The Palestinian issue has proved intractable, and with the two-state solution almost defunct some regional rulers are turning their minds to the benefits of closer ties with Israel and the U.S. Economic, military, diplomatic—engagement offers various gains, and helps guard against an Iran that many in the region see as an existential threat.

Still, those Middle Eastern nations that fully recognize Israel remain in the minority. Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen all still do not have official diplomatic ties with Israel. All but Oman also do not recognize Israel as a state.

There have been suggestions that Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia could all be in line for normalization deals, but so far they have not come to fruition.

Several other Muslim-majority states in Africa and Asia have also refused full diplomatic ties with Israel. Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Somalia, and Tunisia are among those in Africa. Of these, Libya, Somalia and Algeria do not even recognize Israel as a country.

In Asia, major Muslim nations including Indonesia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh do not have full ties with Israel. Neither do Afghanistan, Bhutan, the Maldives, Brunei, and Malaysia. All but Bhutan and the Maldives do not recognize Israel as a state.

Other nations refuse full ties with Israel on primarily ideological—rather than religious—grounds. Left-wing revolutionary regimes consider Israel an imperialist occupier of Arab land and a puppet of the U.S. Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea all refuse full ties with Israel on this basis. North Korea also does not recognize Israel as a state.

Israel newspaper morocco ties diplomacy peace deal
This picture taken on December 11, 2020 in Jerusalem shows Israeli newspapers' front page titles about the announcement that Israel is to establish diplomatic relations with Morocco. AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images/Getty