Sunday, November 01, 2020

Saudi Arabia still supports the Palestinian cause

By Marc Henry - August 02, 2018
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Peace Process]

Saudi Arabia will oppose any peace plan put forward by US President Donald Trump’s administration that does not accept the Palestinian stance on the status of Jerusalem. 

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has reassured both Palestine and its Arab allies that it will not endorse any Middle East peace plan that fails to address Jerusalem’s status or refugees’ right of return.
This comes after worries that Saudi Arabia’s stance was changing under his young son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
According to Reuters, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has pressed Palestinian president Abbas to support the US plan despite it only offered the Palestinians limited self-governance and no right of return for refugees displaced by the Arab-Israeli wars of 1948 and 1967.
In April, the Crown Prince reportedly said in a closed-door meeting that Palestinians should accept peace negotiations or “shut up and stop complaining.”
According to the Israeli media Channel 10 News, the Crown Prince offered harsh criticism of Palestine when speaking with leaders of several Jewish organisations while in New York.
“In the last several decades the Palestinian leadership has missed one opportunity after the other and rejected all the peace proposals it was given,” the Crown Prince said according to a wire sent by the Israeli consulate in New York to Israel’s foreign ministry in Jerusalem.
Having openly supported Israel’s right to exist in the past and made it clear that the Palestinian issue was not a priority for the Kingdom, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman caused worries that Saudi Arabia’s stance was changing.
However, these perceptions have been reversed with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Sauds private guarantees to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his public defence of long-standing Arab positions in recent months.
“In Saudi Arabia, the king is the one who decides on this issue now, not the crown prince,” said a senior Arab diplomat in Riyad. “The US mistake was they thought one country could pressure the rest to give in, but it’s not about pressure. No Arab leader can concede on Jerusalem or Palestine.”
According to Reuters, the Palestinian ambassador to Riyadh, Basem Al-Agha, King Salman had expressed support for Palestinians in a recent meeting with Abbas, saying: “We will not abandon you (...) We accept what you accept, and we reject what you reject.”
Basem Al-Agha said that King Salman naming the 2018 Arab League conference “The Jerusalem Summit” and announcing $200 million in aid for Palestinians were messages that Jerusalem and refugees were back on the table.
Washington’s current thinking conveyed during a tour in June 2018 by top White House officials does not include East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian State, a right of return for refugees or a freeze of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land.  
According to a White House official Trump’s envoys are working on the most detailed set of proposals to date for the long-awaited peace proposal. However, no release date has been announced.
Lead photo: Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Source: The Arab Weekly. 

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