Saudi leaders reject US Middle East peace plan

RIYADH/PNN/

Saudi Arabian Monarch Salman told U.S. President Trump that East Jerusalem should be the capital of Palestine while rejecting the U.S. Middle East Peace Plan, which does not address the Jerusalem and refugee issues.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, agrees with the Arab countries that are afraid of Trump’s so-called “Deal of the Century.”

Diplomats and analysts said that King Salman’s guarantees to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, along with Salmon’s public advocacy in recent months, have helped to change the perception that Saudi Arabia has switched its position under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

However, this has raised doubts about whether Saudi Arabia is able to rally Arab support for a new campaign to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and unite against the common enemy of Iran.

“In Saudi Arabia, it is the king who is making decisions on this issue, not the crown prince,” said a senior diplomat in Riyadh. “The mistake made by the United States is that it believed one country could pressure the other countries to surrender, but it is not about pressure. An Arab leader does not have to give up Jerusalem or the Palestinians.”

A Palestinian official told Reuters in December that Prince Mohammed bin Salman had pressured President Abbas to support the US plan, despite fears that it would give the Palestinians limited autonomy within disconnected areas of the occupied West Bank without the right to return for refugees displaced from their homes in the 1948 and 1967 wars.

He said Saudi Arabia had reassured its Arab allies that it would not agree to any Middle East peace plan that did not address the status of Jerusalem or the refugees’ right to return, easing fears that the kingdom might support a U.S.-brokered agreement with Israel.