President Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday that the Saudi government agreed to allow all eastbound flights from Israel to pass through its airspace, rather than just flights from Israel to the United Arab Emirates.
Why it matters: Although Saudi Arabia did not follow the UAE in normalizing relations with Israel, opening its airspace is a meaningful step that will influence tourism and the economy.
What he's saying: Kushner said that every flight from Israel that will ask for a permit to fly through Saudi airspace will receive it. He thanked Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the gesture and stressed that both feel strongly about the Palestinian issue.
- Kushner emphasized that the tide is turning in the Middle East and Arab countries don't want their progress to be interrupted by the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains stuck.
- "Many people in the region are losing their patience regarding the Palestinian leadership," Kushner said.
He called on Palestinians to come back to the negotiating table and said the Trump plan is still up for discussion and could be improved if the Palestinians bring a counter offer.
- "But we are not going to chase them," Kushner noted.
Kushner held the briefing ahead of the signing ceremony for the U.S.-brokered normalization agreement between Israel and the UAE next Tuesday in Washington, D.C. He added that the White House wants the ceremony to be bipartisan and will invite both Democratic and Republican senators and members of congress.