Israel-UAE deal: Kushner says ‘another’ Arab country to follow

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets US president's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner (AFP)

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  August 14, 2020

Trump’s son-in-law says other states may normalise relations with Israel, as Al-Quds newspaper cites unidentified US official saying Bahrain and Oman will be next.

Jared Kushner, a senior advisor to US President Donald Trump, says another Arab country is likely to establish ties with Israel following Thursday’s normalisation deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Israel and the UAE reached an agreement to establish bilateral ties earlier in the day, a deal slammed by the Palestinians as a “treacherous stab in the back”.

Speaking to reporters after the agreement was announced, Kushner said: “There is a good chance that another country could make a deal with Israel in the coming days.”

Meanwhile, an unidentified US official told the Al Quds newspaper that it was just “a matter of time” before Bahrain and Oman followed suit and established ties with Israel.

The official cited Bahrain’s decision to host the unveiling of Trump administration’s Middle East plan last year, and Oman’s previous trade relations with Israel.

Israel and Oman agreed to open trade representative offices in the 1990s, but in 2000 the Gulf sultanate had them shuttered after the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada.

President Donald Trump did not mention either country while speaking to reporters on Thursday, but suggested more diplomatic breakthroughs may emerge between Israel and countries in the region.

“Things are happening that I can’t talk about,” he said.

Signs of warming ties between Israel and the UAE had long been on display. In May, the first direct commercial flight from the UAE landed in Tel Aviv. And in June, the UAE and Israel announced they would be partnering to tackle the coronavirus, further demonstrating the increased activity between the two states.

According to Trump, delegations from Israel and the UAE are expected to meet at the White House for a signing ceremony in three weeks.

They are expected to sign bilateral agreements on direct flights, security, telecommunications and other issues.

The Palestinian Authority roundly condemned the agreement as a “betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa and the Palestinian cause,” while a Hamas spokesman said the UAE had essentially “stabbed” the Palestinians in the back.