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Annexation will be raised again but 'not in the near future'

Kushner: 100% possible, and logical, for all 22 Arab states to recognize Israel

Concluding historic US-Israeli visit to Abu Dhabi, White House adviser says the ‘vocal minority’ against UAE’s normalization with Israel will become more isolated

US President Donald Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner, center, stands with US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien while speaking to journalists during a flight on an Israeli El Al plane to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP)
US President Donald Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner, center, stands with US National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien while speaking to journalists during a flight on an Israeli El Al plane to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020. (Nir Elias/Pool Photo via AP)

Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner predicted Tuesday that all other Arab countries will gradually follow the United Arab Emirates in normalizing ties with Israel, causing the “vocal minority” that opposes the move to become increasingly isolated in the region.

Asked in an interview with the UAE’s WAM news agency whether he believed all 22 Arab states could eventually recognize Israel, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law replied: “100 percent.”

“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 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 favor of normalizing. I think the vocal minority who have been against it will be more and more isolated in the region,” he said.

Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat elbow bumps with an Emirati official ahead of boarding the plane before leaving Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, September 1, 2020. (NIR ELIAS / POOL / AFP)

Kushner predicted that another Arab country could establish diplomatic ties with Israel within months.

“Let’s hope it’s months,” he said when asked whether such a step was foreseeable in months or years. He didn’t name the country.

“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,” said Kushner.

“We don’t solve problems by not talking to each other. So, normalizing relations and allowing people-to-people and business exchanges will only make the Middle East stronger and a more stable place,” added the senior US official during his historic trip to Abu Dhabi with an Israeli delegation, which ended Tuesday.

Emirati and Israeli officials discuss future cooperation agreements in Abu Dhabi on August 31, 2020 (Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)

Oman, Bahrain, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia are among the countries that Israel and the US hope could follow the UAE and forge diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.

Kushner also said the issue of Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank would be raised again “in the future” but “not in the near future,” without elaborating on a timeframe.

Israel suspended its West Bank annexation plans in exchange for normalization with the UAE, with officials in Abu Dhabi saying the move was off the table while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists it has just been pushed off.

The head of Israel’s National Security Council, Meir Ben-Shabbat (2nd-R), wearing a protective mask, makes his way to board the plane as he prepares to leave Abu Dhabi on September 1, 2020, at the end of an unprecedented visit on normalizing Israel-UAE relations. (NIR ELIAS / POOL / AFP)

A senior Emirati official said Tuesday that his government had received “assurances” that Israel would not advance its plan to annex the Jordan Valley and West Bank settlements.

“We cannot speculate on future Israeli actions. We have assurances from the US on this, and through our trilateral dialogue,” Jamal al-Musharakh, the director of the Emirati Foreign Ministry’s policy planning department, told Israel-based reporters at a briefing at Abu Dhabi airport, on the matter of annexation.

Israel and the UAE announced on August 13 that they were establishing full diplomatic relations. The UAE is just the third Arab country to agree to official relations with Israel, after Egypt and Jordan. Israeli and American officials have expressed hope that other Gulf Arab countries will soon follow suit, with relations based on mutual commercial and security interests, and their shared enmity toward Iran.

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