Why is this important: Friedman said that Kushner notably briefed Sullivan on the Abrahamic Accord process by which four Arab countries normalized their relations with Israel, according to lawmakers who attended the hearing. Trump’s advisers are hopeful that President-elect Biden will continue this process and encourage other countries like Saudi Arabia to sign.
Driving the news: The call came about two weeks ago, several days before Kushner traveled to Saudi Arabia for a Gulf leaders’ summit. It is not known if Kushner brought a message from Sullivan to any of the executives.
- White House envoy Avi Berkowitz also briefed a former Obama administration official who may be in line for a Middle East-related post under Biden on the standardization agreements, an official tells me. Trump administration.
- According to Israeli lawmakers who attended Monday’s briefing, Friedman said he had recently met his Obama-era predecessor Dan Shapiro and briefed him on the Trump administration’s work on the Middle East in over the past four years. Shapiro made it clear to Friedman during the meeting that he was not on Biden’s transition team.
In the wings: Friedman presented to the Knesset’s foreign relations committee his thoughts on what the Biden administration will and should do regarding Israel and the region, lawmakers who attended the meeting said.
- Friedman said Biden was a friend of Israel. He also said he expected the Biden administration to put pressure on Israel over the West Bank settlement issue, resume aid to the PA and continue to elevate Israel’s ties with China. , a question Friedman said Israel should take more seriously.
Friedman also said Biden would likely attempt to revive the Iran nuclear deal.
- He specifically raised concerns about the influence of former Secretary of State John Kerry and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice on Biden’s Iranian policy, despite the fact that neither will work on the Iranian wallet, an Israeli lawmaker said.
- Friedman said Israel should not seek an immediate confrontation with Biden over Iran, but should instead ask the Biden administration to start a dialogue with Israel, the United Arab Emirates and other Arab countries before to decide to reverse the nuclear deal.
Unsurprisingly, Friedman said Biden shouldn’t roll back Trump’s policies on Jerusalem or Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. He also argued that a fight with Israel over the settlements would get nowhere.
- Friedman claimed Saudi Arabia would have recognized Israel within a year if Trump was re-elected.
- But he had a criticism for his boss, saying Trump’s relationship with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had at times been “too warm” and that Biden would be more critical of Turkey.
Go further: Netanyahu demands full control over Iranian policies from Israel, sparking a crackdown.