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August 16, 2020 7:05 pm

Senior US Officials Anticipate More Normalization Agreements Between Israel and Arab Countries

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner (C) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (L) wait in the Rose Garden prior to President Donald Trump’s news conference on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) at the White House in Washington, DC, Oct. 1, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Leah Millis.

Senior United States officials expressed optimism over the weekend that other Arab states would soon join the United Arab Emirates in normalizing ties with Israel.

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner said peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia is an “inevitability” following the historic announcement last week between the Jewish state and the UAE.

In an interview with CNBC, Kushner, who is widely seen as the chief broker of the normalization deal, said, “I do think that we have other countries that are very interested in moving forward.”

“And then, as that progresses, I do think it is an inevitability that Saudi Arabia and Israel will have fully normalized relations and they will be able to do a lot of great things together,” he added.

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When asked about the fact that Saudi Arabia has thus far said nothing about the Israel-UAE deal, Kushner replied, “We just had the first peace agreement in 26 years and now you’re saying: ‘Well, we want to get somebody else on board right away.’”

“Saudi Arabia has obviously been a great leader in making (modernization) but you can’t turn a battleship around overnight,” he added.

White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien also expressed optimism about expanding normalization with Israel in the Arab world, telling Meet the Press on Sunday, “We think that there’s momentum for some additional parties to join and to normalize relations with Israel.”

“So, we’re quite hopeful that we can build on this momentum,” he said.

O’Brien added that Saudi Arabia “could be next” and expressed hope that the Saudi leadership would “see that development and realize that this will be great for Saudi Arabia, it’ll be great for the Arab people, and it’ll be great for the Islamic world as well.”

The US, he added, is talking to “a number of countries” about possible normalization.

Speculation on the subject was rampant Sunday after Lebanese President Michel Aoun failed to reject normalization in an interview with a French media outlet.

Speaking to BFMTV, Aoun was asked about normalization and said, “That depends. We have problems with Israel, we have to resolve them first.”

Aoun is generally seen as a puppet of the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah, which viciously denounced the Israel-UAE accord.

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