White House advisor urges Saudi to normalize ties with Israel

(VOVWORLD) - It would be in Saudi Arabia's best interest to normalize ties with Israel as the United Arab Emirates has agreed to do, US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and White House advisor Jared Kushner said Monday.

The move would also weaken Iran's influence in the region and ultimately help the Palestinians, Kushner told reporters during a telephone briefing.

Saudi Arabia, the Arab world's biggest economy, has been silent on Mr. Trump's surprise announcement last Thursday that the UAE and Israel had decided to normalize relations. In return, Israel agreed to suspend the annexation of occupied West Bank territories, although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the plan was not off the table in the long run.

The UAE, a close US and Saudi ally, is the first Gulf country to establish official relations with Israel, though many Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar, have quietly cultivated informal ties with the country.

The landmark UAE-Israel deal is only the third such accord the Jewish state has struck with an Arab country, and raises the prospect of similar deals with other pro-Western Gulf states.

President Trump said leaders from the two countries would sign the agreement at the White House in the coming weeks.

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