All Arab states may normalise ties with Israel one day: Kushner

Abu Dhabi: It is possible and “logical” that all the 22 Arab states could normalise ties with Israel one day, US President Donald Trump’s Senior Adviser, Jared Kushner, told Emirates News Agency, WAM, in an exclusive interview.

Kushner, who is also Trump’s Chief Middle East Adviser, revealed that the world could witness the fourth Arab state normalising ties with Israel in “months.”

Three Arab countries

Egypt in 1978, Jordan in 1994 and the UAE in 2020 are the only Arab countries that announced that step to date.

“Let’s hope it’s months,” he said when asked whether it could take years or months to see the fourth Arab state normalising relations with Israel, without revealing what country it could possibly be.

“Obviously anything could happen, but the reality is that a lot of people are envious of the move that the United Arab Emirates has made,” he added.

Benefit

“A lot of people want access to the technology, economy and the advancements that Israel has. Israel is like another Silicon Valley for the Middle East.

“From a faith point of view, many Muslims are excited to pray at Al Aqsa Mosque through the United Arab Emirates I think this is going to be the start of something really exciting and my hope is that more and more countries would want this because being apart doesn’t benefit anybody.

“We don’t solve problems by not talking to each other. So, normalising relations and allowing people-to-people and business exchanges will only make the Middle East stronger and a more stable place,” he continued.

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US-Israeli top-level delegation

Kushner headed a US-Israeli top-level delegation which started a historic visit to the UAE yesterday, flying on the first-ever commercial flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi.

He met yesterday with Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nayhan, UAE’s National Security Adviser, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in the presence of Israel’s Head of National Security Council, Meir Ben-Shabbat and US’ National Security Adviser, Robert O’Brien.

Asked if he believed it could be possible to see all the 22 Arab states normalising relations with Israel one day, Kushner responded quickly by saying, “100 per cent.”

“I believe that it is logical for them to do it and I believe it is the right thing to do over time,” he said.

“I am an optimist and that is my blessing and curse in life. It is more fun to be an optimist than being a pessimist, but there are a thousand reasons why it should happen [22 Arab states normalising with Israel] and a very few reasons why it shouldn’t happen.

“My hope and prayers are that the leaders will have the strength and courage to make the right decisions and to not be discouraged by the vocal minorities.

Twitter

“Twitter is not a real place; people are angry on Twitter and you have some radicals too. People who are against normalisation are against progress. Normalisation is about giving everybody an opportunity, respecting each other’s faith and having a more stable region. If you are against normalisation then what are you standing for? You are standing for extremism, division, intolerance.

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“I think thanks to the UAE leadership there will be a much bigger coalition. [There will be] what I call ‘a vocal majority’ that will be in favour of normalising. I think the vocal minority who have been against it will be more and more isolated in the region,” he continued.

Kushner, 39, explained that the discussions over the Israeli suspension of the annexation of the West Bank will be held sometime “in the future,” but not “in the near future.”

“Right now, the focus is on this relationship [UAE and Israel] and the [Israeli] relationship potentially with other countries, that is very important to Israel and the region,” he said.

Israel agreed to suspend annexation

“Israel has agreed to suspend the annexation and suspend the Israeli law to those areas for the time being, but in the future, I am sure that it is a discussion that we will be had, but not in the near future,” he added.

Asked about the boycott of Qatar by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt since 2017, Kushner said that it was on the agenda to discuss with the leaders of the respective countries.

“On this trip I had the opportunity to discuss it with the leadership of the UAE. I will be in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and will discuss it with them as well,” he revealed.

“We’ll continue to engage until we find what is a fair and proper solution that we believe could endure,” he added.

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