UAE, Bahrain have more influence to help Israel solve the Palestinian issue: Kushner

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The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain will have more influence to help Israel solve the Palestinian issue as allies, according to Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner, after both Arab countries signed the historic Abraham Accords normalizing ties with Israel.

“I will say that if you look at what the United Arab Emirates did today and what Bahrain did today, they will have more influence to help Israel solve the Palestinian issue as allies and normalize countries of Israel, than they would have no say at the table,” Kushner told Al Arabiya’s Washington DC Bureau Chief Nadia Bilbassy on Tuesday.

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The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain officially normalized relations with Israel at a signing ceremony at the White House on Tuesday. The agreements “will serve as the foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region,” said US President Donald Trump in an opening speech at the signing ceremony at the White House.

Trump hosted UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the landmark deal.

Speaking on the US-brokered efforts, Kushner said it was possible given new leadership and thinking in attempting to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict.

“People point to the Arab Peace Initiative, which was a very noble effort when it was done in 2002. But if it would have worked, then there would have been peace 15-20 years ago. So the reality is that was not a viable pathway to make it things through,” Kushner told Al Arabiya.

When asked about Trump’s invitation to sit down with the Iranians without any preset conditions, Kushner reiterated Washington’s “maximum pressure” strategy as longstanding until Tehran complies with US demands.

“Trump will keep the maximum pressure campaign going until we have an outcome that is appropriate… quite frankly, their situation in Iran is getting more and more dire by the day. But he does want a situation where they can, again, give their people freedom and give their people opportunity,” Kushner said.

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