Kushner Urges Palestinians to Rejoin Talks After UAE-Israel Deal

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said the Palestinian people stand to gain from a historic agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel to normalize ties and urged the Palestinian leadership to see the benefits of engagement.

“The hope is that over time the Palestinian leadership will see that they have so much more to gain for their people and for their legacies by engaging and resolving these longstanding conflicts than by putting out the same tired statements that quite frankly haven’t brought progress for their people,” Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, said in an interview Friday with Bloomberg Television.

Kushner Urges Palestinians to Rejoin Talks After UAE-Israel Deal

The White House sought to quickly capitalize on the UAE-Israeli decision, even as Palestinian officials decried it as a “betrayal” of their cause. While applauding the deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to permanently put off efforts to annex swaths of the West Bank, a proposal that has infuriated Palestinians and many Arab nations.

Trump said he intends to hold a White House signing ceremony for the deal and vowed there would be more developments coming soon.

In separate interviews with Bloomberg, UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash said the emirate “wants to move quickly” to enact the agreement, which includes establishing embassies and direct air links between the two nations.

“Israel is interested in investments, we’re interested in certain technologies, we can start with these things and this will lead to other things,” Gargash said. “We are looking at rejuvenating an overall relationship, so clearly Israel has some areas of expertise such as agriculture for example, such as high tech, tourism is another area.”

Thursday’s announcement represented a long-sought foreign policy win for Trump, though it fell short of the “deal of the century” he said he wanted at the start of his term and which he assigned his son-in-law Kushner to oversee.

Those efforts appeared to stall after the Palestinians grew alienated by Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Kushner later laid out his plan, which promised billions of dollars in economic investment for the Palestinians but permitted annexation of swaths of the West Bank by Israel. Palestinian leaders quickly rejected it.

Distrust of Iran

Kushner discounted the latest Palestinian pushback in his interview Friday.

“When you see denouncements and disagreements, I think that the people, the Israeli people and the Palestinian people, are much closer together than perhaps where the Palestinian leadership is,” he said.

Ties between Israel and Gulf Arab states have warmed in recent years, in large part due to a shared distrust of Iran. Until now, they haven’t ripened into open relations, let alone normalization.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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