White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told CNN on Tuesday that he expects more Arab countries to follow the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in normalizing relations with Israel before Palestinian leadership agrees to a peace deal.

Why it matters: After hosting a White House signing ceremony on Tuesday that formalized diplomatic ties between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain, President Trump told reporters that he expects seven to nine more countries — including possibly Saudi Arabia — to agree to a similar move.

The big picture: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement Tuesday that "no peace, security or stability will be achieved for anyone in the region" without an end to Israeli occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

  • He also warned that "attempts to bypass" Palestinian leadership will have "serious repercussions" for Israel and the U.S.
  • In a major blow last week, the Palestinian Authority failed to get the Arab League's foreign ministers to endorse a resolution criticizing the Israel-UAE deal. For decades, Arab League foreign ministers have endorsed every draft resolution the Palestinians have put forward.

What they're saying: "The Palestinians see that [Trump] has a lot of sway with the Israeli public. Israel trusts President Trump that he knows what their security needs are," Kushner argued.

  • "He knows what their bottom lines are. And they do believe that he's the only person that can actually make this deal. But I think that, again, you're not going to make a deal until it's ready. We do believe that before there's a deal with the Palestinians, you are going to have more countries normalize with Israel," he continued.
  • "And when the Palestinian leadership decides that they're ready, then that's when a deal can be made. ... We can't want peace more than the Palestinian leadership wants to make peace. So when they're ready to do it, we'll be there to help facilitate it."

Go deeper: UAE minister says Israel agreement will include two-state solution reference

Go deeper

Sep 16, 2020 - World

UAE-Israel treaty states commitment to meeting the needs of Israelis and Palestinians

U.S. President Donald Trump (2nd R), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd L), UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (R) and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani (L) attend a signing ceremony for the agreements on "normalization of relations" reached between Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain at the White House in Washington, United States on September 15, 2020. Photo:
Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

The peace treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates states that both countries are committed to "working together for a negotiated solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that will meet the aspirations and needs of both parties."

Why it matters: The Emiratis face criticism from the Palestinians over their peace treaty with Israel. Officials involved in the negotiations on the text of the treaty told me the Emiratis wanted to include language on Palestinians in the document. The Emiratis wanted stronger language, but Israel did not agree.

Sep 16, 2020 - Podcasts

A historic peace agreement

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in Washington on Tuesday to commemorate new peace accords with the UAE and Bahrain — the first Arab states in a quarter-century to normalize relations with Israel. The move could have major impacts on the future of the region, including possible compromises on relations with the Palestinians and annexation of the West Bank.

Trump says he "up-played" the coronavirus

President Trump said during an ABC town hall Tuesday evening that he did not downplay the coronavirus, adding "in many ways, I up-played it in terms of action."

Reality check: The president told journalist Bob Woodward during an on-the-record interview in March that he intentionally understated the severity of COVID-19 in public statements to avoid inciting panic.