Kushner: It would be good for Saudi Arabia to recognize Israel

President’s adviser says diplomatic ties would be good for Saudi business and defense, and the Palestinians.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner said Monday that Saudi Arabia should do the same as the United Arab Emirates and establish diplomatic relations with Israel.

Kushner said the Saudis joining other countries in establishing formal ties with Israel would not only help weaken Iranian influence in the region, but also be a boost for the Palestinians.

“It would be very good for Saudi business, it would very good for Saudi’s defense, and, quite frankly, I think it would also help the Palestinian people,” Kushner told reporters during a telephone briefing.

In his talks over time with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Kushner said the Saudi leadership say they “want to see the Palestinian people have a state and economic opportunities.”

“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,” Kushner said, emphasizing the benefits it would bring to the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council that includes the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain.

“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,” Kushner said.

Despite the historic Israeli-Arab animosity, the GCC countries and Israel share common fears over Iranian threats to the region, including direct threats against GCC members and Iran’s constant threat for the “total annihilation of Israel.”

“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.”

Iranian leaders  denounced the Israel-UAE deal, with President Hassan Rouhani calling it a “big mistake” and warning “against opening the path of Israel to the region.”

Saudi Arabia has so far not commented on the announcement last week by President Trump that leaders from Israel and the UAE will meet at the White House in the coming weeks to sign what will be the third treaty with an Arab country establishing diplomatic relations.

The Israel-UAE deal flies in the face of the Saudi-led Arab Peace Initiative that was first proposed in 2002, under which the Arab states would recognize Israel, but only after the signing of an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord that would include a complete withdrawal from Judea and Samaria and Israel accepting millions of Palestinian refugees. Israel refused the conditions.