Donald Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner has that it would be in Saudi Arabia’s interest to normalise ties with Israel as the UAE has agreed to do.
It would also weaken their common foe Iran’s influence in the region and ultimately help the Palestinians, Kushner told reporters during a telephone briefing.
“It would be very good for Saudi business, it would very good for Saudi’s defence, and, quite frankly, I think it would also help the Palestinian people,” Mr Kushner was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s biggest economy, has been silent on Trump’s surprise announcement last Thursday that the UAE — a close US and Saudi ally — and Israel had decided to normalise relations.
In return, Israel agreed to suspend the annexation of occupied West Bank territories, although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the plan was not off the table in the long run.
Saudi King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had repeatedly expressed their desire for an independent Palestinian state with economic opportunities, Mr. Kushner said.
“What they basically said is that they […] want to see the Palestinian people have a state and economic opportunities,” said Kushner, the architect of Trump’s Middle East peace plan, which was wholly rejected by the Palestinians.
“It is in the interest of a lot of these countries from a security point of view and from an economic point of view to have relations with Israel,” Mr. Kushner said.
“A lot of GCC countries want to have breakthroughs.
“The more that countries come together like Israel and the UAE […] the harder it will be for Iran to divide and conquer.”
“If you think about the people who don’t want Saudi Arabia and Israel to make a peace agreement, the number one opponent for that is going to be Iran,” said Kushner. “That shows that is probably the right thing to do.”
Last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the UAE’s decision to normalise ties with Israel was a “big mistake” and warned “against opening the path of Israel to the region”.