Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press,” National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien discussed the deal brokered between Israel and the UAE to normalize relations.
He revealed that Saudi Arabia could be next to make a deal with Israel.
O’Brien said, “Last week was quite an accomplishment. It was the result of very hard diplomacy, much of it being quarterbacked by the president of the United States himself on calls with Bibi Netanyahu and Mohammed bin Zayed. He really pushed this over the finish line. But it took a lot of courage by the other leaders as well. As you indicated, there have only been three of these peace treaties since Israel’s founding, so it’s a historic accomplishment. We think that there’s momentum for some additional parties to join and to normalize relations with Israel. We fanned out, as soon as this was announced, and have talked to — I’ve been on the phone with leaders in the region, the president has, Jared Kushner has, Secretary Pompeo has. And so we’re quite hopeful that we can build on this momentum. I can’t give a timeline because these things are tough. You know, these are the toughest negotiations in the world to broker peace between Israel and the Arab and Islamic world, but we’re confident that we think there are a couple of other countries that are going to get on board soon, and we’re looking forward to that.”
Host Chuck Todd asked, “I’m curious, Saudi Arabia. Because they’re the guardians, if you will, of some important religious aspects of Islam, do they end up the last, do you think, to publicly do it? Or could they be next?”
O’Brien said, “Look, it’s possible that they could be next. The three great holy sites in Islam, as you know, Chuck, are Mecca, Medina, and the king of Saudi Arabia is the keeper of those two sites. But the other site is the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and King Hussein of Jordan and Jordan supervises that. One of the great things about this agreement is you’re now going to have direct flights from those fantastic airports, both in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, into Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv. And we’re going to have Arab and Muslim pilgrims coming to Jerusalem and going up to the Mount and worshiping at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. And we think that’s something that will be a great confidence builder. And so, I’m hoping that King Salman and MBS, Mohammed bin Salman, see that development and realize that this would be great for Saudi Arabia, it would be great for the Arab people and for the Islamic world as well. So, we’re hopeful. We’ll have to see what happens, but we’re talking to a number of countries in addition to Saudi Arabia.”
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