Jared Kushner briefs new National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on the Trump administration’s policies in the Middle East, David Friedman, the outgoing US ambassador to Israel, said at a closed-door hearing in the Israeli parliament on Monday.
why does it matter: Friedman said that Kushner briefed Sullivan in particular about the Abraham Accords process in which four Arab states normalized relations with Israel, according to lawmakers who attended the session. Trump advisers hope President-elect Biden will continue the process and encourage other countries such as Saudi Arabia to sign.
News Lead: The call took place about two weeks ago, several days before Kushner traveled to Saudi Arabia Gulf leaders summit. It is unclear whether Kushner conveyed a message from Sullivan to any of the leaders.
- As White House envoy Avi Berkowitz told me, a former Obama administration official who might be in line for a Middle East job during the Biden era about normalization deals, a Trump administration official told me.
- According to Israeli lawmakers who attended Monday’s briefing, Friedman said he recently met his Obama predecessor, Dan Shapiro, and briefed him on the Trump administration’s work in the Middle East over the past four years. Shapiro made it clear to Friedman at the meeting that he was not part of Biden’s transition team.
behind the scenes: Friedman presented to the Knesset Foreign Relations Committee his thoughts on what the Biden administration would do and what it should do with regard to Israel and the region, say the lawmakers who attended the briefing.
- Friedman said Biden is a friend of Israel. He also said that he expects the Biden administration to press Israel over the issue of settlements in the West Bank, to resume aid to the Palestinian Authority and continue to strengthen ties between Israel and China, an issue Friedman said Israel should take more seriously.
Friedman also said Biden He will probably try Reviving the Iranian nuclear deal.
- Specifically raised Impact concerns One Israeli lawmaker said former Secretary of State John Kerry and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Biden’s policy toward Iran, despite the fact that neither of them will work in Iran’s portfolio.
- Friedman said that Israel should not seek an immediate confrontation with Biden over Iran, but rather ask the Biden administration to initiate a dialogue with Israel, the United Arab Emirates and other Arab countries before it decides to reinstate the nuclear deal.
Not surprisingly, Friedman says Biden should not do this Backtracking on Trump’s policies on Jerusalem or Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. He also claimed that fighting with Israel over settlements would not lead to any results.
- Friedman claimed that Saudi Arabia would have recognized Israel within a year if Trump had won reelection.
- But he only criticized his boss, stating Trump’s relationship with the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan He was sometimes “too warm” and that Biden would be more critical of Turkey.