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Jared Kushner. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

President Trump 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 Palestinians.

  • 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.

Kushner called on the 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.

Go deeper

Dec 9, 2020 - World

Biden and Netanyahu are on a collision course over Iran

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Eric Baradat (AFP), Gali Tibbon (AFP)/Getty Images

The incoming Biden administration and the Israeli government are on a collision course over the future of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Why it matters: There is a growing gap between Biden’s stated intention to re-enter the deal and Israel’s expectations and public demands against it.

Top 2020 Dems wouldn't reverse Trump's Jerusalem embassy decision

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 Democratic presidential front-runners have accepted President Trump's Jerusalem move.

The bottom line: Over the last week, Axios reached out to all of the top tier candidates, and not one of them — including former Vice President Joe Biden — would move the U.S. Embassy in Israel back to Tel Aviv.

Republicans threaten to shut down government over vaccine mandates

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Capitol in November 2020. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to force a government shutdown Friday to deny funding needed to enforce the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on the private sector, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Congress has until the end of the week to pass a stopgap measure to extend funding into 2022, though objection from a small group of Republicans could shut down the government.