Netanyahu surprised by Arab support for Donald Trump peace plan

Saudi Arabia and UAE reported to be supportive of US proposals to secure Israeli-Palestinian peace


Benjamin Netanyahu was left “stunned” by the extent of Arab support for the Trump administration’s anticipated Middle East peace plan, a former Israeli foreign advisor has said.

Nimrod Novik, who was previously advised Shimon Peres on foreign policy matters, said the present Israeli Prime Minister was taken aback by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates’s stance to a White House plan for “enduring peace” between Israel and Palestinians.

Support for the US plan has been aided by concern from both Israel and the Saudis over Iran’s growing influence in the region and the wider threat of jihadist extremism.

Mr Novik, a fellow at the Israel Policy Forum think tank, told The Times: “Netanyahu was stunned when he found out the extent to which the Arab Quartet, but particularly the Saudis and UAE, are willing to go in supporting the process, including steps that help demonstrate to Israelis that promise of regional acceptance is not a mirage.”

Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law, is drafting the plan with Jason Greenblatt, the US leader’s chief negotiator, and deputy national security adviser Dina Powell.

Mr Kushner has made frequent visits to the region for meetings towards a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which Donald Trump has described as the “ultimate deal”.

Gilead Sher, chief Israeli negotiator at the 2000 Camp David summit said there were now  more “common concerns” for Israel and the Arab Quartet, which includes Bahrain and Egypt, than there were differences.

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