US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and White House advisor Jared Kushner said Monday it would be in Saudi Arabia's interest to normalize ties with Israel as the United Arab Emirates has agreed to do.
Speaking to reporters during a telephone briefing, Kushner said that such a move would also weaken their common foe Iran's influence in the region and ultimately help the Palestinians.
"It would be very good for Saudi business, it would very good for Saudi's defense, and, quite frankly, I think it would also help the Palestinian people," Kushner said, according to the AFP news agency.
Saudi Arabia, the Arab world's biggest economy, has been silent on Trump's surprise announcement last Thursday that the UAE, a close US and Saudi ally, and Israel had decided to normalize relations.
Saudi King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had repeatedly expressed their desire for an independent Palestinian state with economic opportunities, Kushner said.
"What they basically said is that they ... want to see the Palestinian people have a state and economic opportunities," said Kushner.
"It is in the interest of a lot of these countries from a security point of view and from an economic point of view to have relations with Israel," he continued.
"A lot of GCC countries want to have breakthroughs. The more that countries come together like Israel and the UAE... the harder it will be for Iran to divide and conquer," Kushner noted.
Saudi Arabia and Israel have a common enemy in Iran, which most Gulf countries have accused of supporting militant groups in the region.
"If you think about the people who don't want Saudi Arabia and Israel to make a peace agreement, the number one opponent for that is going to be Iran," said Kushner. "That shows that is probably the right thing to do."
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said the UAE's decision to normalize ties with the Jewish state was a "big mistake" and warned "against opening the path of Israel to the region".
Last Thursday, after the agreement was announced, senior Iranian official Hossein Amir-Abdollahian denounced it and said it will not secure peace in the region.
Saudi Arabia does not have diplomatic ties with Israel, but there have been rumors in recent years of rapprochement between the two countries. Saudi officials have denied those reports.
Saudi Arabia insists that Israel accept the 2002 Saudi Peace Initiative, which stipulates that 22 Arab countries will normalize ties with Israel in return for an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.
Israel to date has rejected the 2002 Saudi proposal due to the fact that it calls for Israel to accept the so-called "right of return" for millions of descendants of Arabs who fled pre-state Israel, effectively bringing an end to the Jewish state.