Kushner pushes other Arab nations to follow UAE footsteps

White House advisor hits Gulf capitols with Israel in apparent attempt at increasing diplomatic ties and possibly US arms deals

Jared Kushner, the senior adviser and son-in-law to President Trump, hopes other nations will soon follow in the footsteps of the United Arab Emirates after a historic flight this week between Israel and the country as part of a normalized relationship agreed upon last month.

In the wake of that flight, which Kushner flew on, the official suggested to the UAE state news agency WAM that he hopes other nations will follow suit in a short time, according to a report by Reuters.

“Let’s hope it’s months,” Kushner told the news outlet.

The August agreement made UAE the third Middle Eastern country to recognize and establish diplomatic ties with Israel – a move that angered Palestinians and Iran.

Egypt and Jordan established ties with Israel that date back decades, but until recently, other Arab nations have stood firm on rejecting diplomatic ties until Israel vacates Palestinian lands that the United Nations has deemed illegally occupied territory.


Kushner visited Bahrain, and is expected to head to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, three of the Middle East’s wealthiest countries, according to the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Notably, Kuwait was missing from Kushner’s travel plans, though they ranked the second wealthiest nation in the Middle East last year.

Kuwait has remained friendly with Iran despite a rise in tension between the Shiite nation and the other Gulf states in recent years. That includes Saudi Arabia, which severed ties with Iran in 2016, after an attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also all backed Trump’s 2018 decision to pull out of the Iranian Nuclear Deal, while Kuwait, Qatar and Oman chose to maintain economic and political ties with Iran.

Although no other Middle Eastern nation has confirmed additional diplomatic ties with Israel, Saudi Arabia granted permission to the plane carrying Kushner and the Israeli delegation, to use its airspace, according to Reuters.

The Bahraini government also reportedly praised the UAE’s new found ties as a successful move in defending Arab and Islamic interests in the region.

Palestinians have denounced the UAE’s move, calling it a “poison danger” and a reward for the aggression they have shown against the Palestinians.


“You have destroyed, with this move, any possibility of peace between Palestinians and Israelis,” senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said last month following the newly announced ties.

The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was quick to speak out against the UAE-Israel agreement, calling it a “huge mistake” and a “betrayal of the will of the Palestinian people and the will of Muslims.”

And in a scathing speech Tuesday, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, condemned Kushner’s most recent trip.

“The Emiratis will be disgraced forever for this treachery against the Islamic world, Arab nations and Palestine,” the ayatollah said.

He further condemned the UAE.

“The UAE, along with Israelis and evil Americans like the Jewish member of Trump’s family, are working together against the interests of the Islamic world,” Khamenei said, referring the Kushner who is Jewish, Reuters reported.

When asked about Khamenei’s comments, Jamal Al-Musharakh, a UAE Foreign Ministry official said, “The path to peace and prosperity is not paved with incitement and hate speech.”

Kushner reportedly spent Tuesday morning at al-Dhafra airbase speaking to Emirati pilots about F-35 fighter planes, according to a report by Al Jazeera.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected reports that surfaced last month claiming that U.S. security officials gave a “classified briefing” regarding the F-35 to UAE officials, calling it “Fake news.”

“The peace agreement with the UAE does not include any clauses on the matter, and the United States clarified to Israel that it will always safeguard Israel’s qualitative edge,” he said in an August statement referring to arms sales to Israel that include the advance F-35 jetfighter.


The UAE has reportedly stated that with normalized ties between them and Israel, they are free to participate in arms sales with the U.S.

Netanyahu has condemned any such sale.