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National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien: Trump should get Nobel Peace Prize for Israel-UAE deal

Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien fielded questions in the wake of the historic announcement of an agreement normalizing diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE.

Updated: August 13, 2020 - 4:32pm

Following the announcement this morning of an historic diplomatic agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which will normalize relations between the two countries, White House National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien suggested that President Trump "should be a frontrunner" for a Nobel Peace Prize.

During a press conference on Thursday afternoon, O'Brien congratulated Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed for entering the "pantheon of great, courageous Arab leaders" who "have made peace with Israel." O'Brien said that Mohammed bin Zayed joins the ranks of King Hussein of Jordan and Anwar Sadat of Egypt, to become one of only three Arab leaders to enter into a peace accord with Israel.

O'Brien similarly extended his compliments to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who made what he believes could be a potentially politically unpopular decision in favor of putting "the interests of his country and his people first." 

The White House adviser called the fulfillment of the deal, which a U.S. diplomatic team has quietly spent 18 months working on, "the best news of the year." 

"Very few of my predecessors have been able to come to this podium and announce a peace deal in the Middle East," said O'Brien. 

Senior Adviser to the President Jared Kushner called the announcement of the agreement an "historic breakthrough and a great day for peace." 

Kushner spoke about the difference between the landscape of regional security threats and diplomatic relations that President Trump inherited from the Obama administration and where things stand today. 

"You see a much different Middle East than what he [Trump] inherited, and hopefully there's much more to come," said Kushner, touting the destruction of ISIS and refortification of diplomatic ties between the United States and Israel during the Trump presidency.

On the question of the Palestinians' negative reaction to the announcement of today's deal, Kushner responded: "They [the Palestinians] have a fairly predictable response that we've seen time and time again to all types of things that help make their peoples' lives better ... We can't wait for the Palestinian leadership to try and resolve this ... we have to be moving forward."

Both O'Brien and Kushner spoke about how the deal can strategically confound the Iranian regime, which many see as the single largest threat to the region. O'Brien called Israel and the UAE two "capable security partners in the region" that will "stand up to Iran."

Kushner said that with the agreement in place the "UAE becomes one of America's closest allies in the region" and that he hopes to see "more countries do the same."

Both advisers spoke about President Trump's reputation as a dealmaker, though O'Brien said that he believes today's deal will cement Trump's reputation not just as a great dealmaker but "as a great peacemaker" as well.