News and Commentary

THE ERA OF TRUMP: Trump, Kushner Stimulate Israel-Gulf State Alliance

When President Trump decided he would not, as his predecessor had, try to imagine Iran as a peaceful entity or Israel as a source of trouble in the Middle East, he paved the way for something remarkable and previously unthinkable to happen: the relationships between Israel and the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain and the UAE to become genuinely warm and friendly. Here are some reasons why, as Axios notes:

From the beginning of Trump’s tenure, senior adviser Jared Kushner and special envoy Jason Greenblatt reached out to Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, which paid dividends when Kushner and the King of Jordan consulted about forestalling a crisis over the Israeli embassy in Amman in July last year.

Another example: Kushner’s relationship with the Saudi crown prince was a factor in the prince’s recent positive rhetoric regarding Israel, as exemplified in his interview with The Atlantic, in which he recognized Israel’s right to exist in peace, and his criticism of the Palestinians when they cut off any negotiations.

Kushner and Greenblatt catalyzed an astonishing change when they persuaded Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain to send representatives to the special meeting on the Gaza crisis in Mid-March, where they joined the Israeli general in charge of the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

After Trump announced the withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain all joined in lauding the decision.

Perhaps the most amazing occurrence: after Israel fired back at Iranian forces in Syria which had fired on Israel, the foreign minister of Bahrain tweeted his support of Israel: “As long as Iran has violated the status quo in the region and is exploiting states using its forces and missiles, any country in the region, including Israel, is entitled to defend itself by destroying the sources of danger.”

Jason Greenblatt responded on Twitter: “Under President Trump’s leadership, America’s friends are drawing closer together in the face of Iranian aggression!”