Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump in Jerusalem for Abraham Accords initiative
Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump (Twitter)

Israeli lawmakers flanked by former president Donald Trump's daughter and son-in-law launched an initiative in Jerusalem on Monday to advance the Abraham Accords that saw Arab states normalize ties with Israel.

Jared Kushner, a former White House adviser married to Ivanka Trump, was a major architect of the deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

At the launch of the Abraham Accords Caucus in Israel's parliament, the Knesset, Kushner said the agreements created a "new paradigm" in the region, which could have "very different outcomes" depending on the actions of current leaders.

Critics of the Trump approach accused him of advancing Arab reconciliation with Israel as a substitute for meaningful efforts to advance the rights of the Palestinians.

The accords broke with decades of Arab consensus that there would be no relations with Israel while the Palestinian question remains unresolved.

Trump considered the accords a major foreign policy legacy.

They were signed by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was cheered at Monday's event, but the pacts have been fully supported by the coalition that ousted him in June.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Netanyahu's staunch political rival, said at the launch that he would work to "expand the circle of the Abraham Accords" during an upcoming visit to Washington.

Israeli media have reported on some frustration among Israeli officials about a lack of momentum from President Joe Biden's administration to expand the accords engineered under Trump.

Biden's Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised last month to encourage more Arab countries to recognise Israel to "keep normalization marching forward."

He is to meet in Washington next week with Lapid and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed to discuss "progress made" since the signing of the pacts.

Several former top Trump administration officials were also in Jerusalem on Monday, coinciding with the launch.

Trump's former ambassador to Israel David Friedman and ex-treasury secretary Stephen Mnuchin were due to open a museum exhibit.

© 2021 AFP