The United Arab Emirates is getting top-of-the-line fighter jets. Morocco is winning recognition for decades-old territorial claims. And Sudan is coming off the US terrorism blacklist. The Arab nations are suddenly achieving long-sought goals after agreeing to normalize ties with Israel, in a last-minute triumph for the unorthodox diplomacy of outgoing President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Widely mocked for more than three years as a boyish lightweight, who was best known for his famous wife, troubled property deals and his father’s stint in prison, Kushner is scoring historic breakthroughs lauded by Trump’s base with four Arab nations since September joining the so-called Abraham Accords with Israel. “President Trump took a contrarian approach,” Kushner told reporters Thursday as he announced the latest deal, with Morocco, saying that the Arab-Israeli conflict “has been held back for so long by old thinking and by stalled process.” Veterans of Middle East diplomacy agree that Kushner moved nimbly after the United Arab Emirates first signalled its willingness to recognize Israel. “He had the authority; he was smart enough to develop personalized relations. I think he clearly deserves some credit for taking advantage of what the landscape showed was possible,” said Dennis Ross, who served as Bill Clinton’s Middle East envoy. Kushner, a family friend of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, broke decades of US norms on Middle East peacemaking by barely making a pretense of being evenhanded with the Palestinians. Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and, in a long-delayed Middle East plan unveiled in January 2020, gave the US blessing if Netanyahu wanted to annex much of the West Bank. Speaking to CNN at the time, Kushner warned the Palestinians, who were offered a limited state, not to “screw up another opportunity like they’ve screwed up every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.” Personal bonds Soft-spoken, thin and always sporting neatly coiffed hair and crisp suits, Kushner contrasts in style, if not goals, from his father-in-law. Trump gave comedians fodder for jokes by putting Kushner in charge of everything from the Middle East to painkiller addiction, but in the Arab world, such familial arrangements showed he spoke for the president. “In the Middle East, what negotiators or mediators need is unmistakable authority,” Ross said. Kushner, who turns 40 days before Trump leaves office, worked quietly and largely bypassed the State Department, whose top Middle East diplomat, asked at a late 2019 congressional hearing about his contribution to the Trump plan, replied, “Um, none.” Kushner traveled to Morocco for a Ramadan fast-breaking dinner with the king and swapped messages on WhatsApp with Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince despite widespread concerns about his human rights record.