Saudi prince backs Palestinians before launch of Trump peace initiative

Saudi Arabia’s stance vis-a-vis the peace process remains supportive of Palestinian demands, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman says. 

By: World Israel News Staff

Saudi Arabia has reassured Arab allies it will not endorse any peace plan proposed by the US that fails to address Jerusalem’s status or the Palestinian right of return, assuaging their concerns that the kingdom might back a US deal that aligns with Israel on key issues, Reuters reported Sunday.

King Salman’s guarantees to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and his public defense of traditional Arab positions in recent months have helped reverse perceptions that Saudi Arabia’s stance was changing under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, diplomats and analysts told Reuters.

“In Saudi Arabia, the king is the one who decides on this issue now, not the crown prince,” said a senior Arab diplomat in Riyadh. “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.”

Palestinian Ambassador to Riyadh Basem Al-Agha told Reuters that 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.”

The White House is in the midst of formulating another peace plan for the region, which according to some reports does not include east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, a right of return for so-called Palestinian refugees or a freeze of Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria.

Reports say that the Crown Prince seemed positive about the plan, while King Salman has curbed his enthusiasm.

So far, there is little to suggest any significant progress towards ending the conflict in the region.

“There is no new push,” an Arab diplomat said. Nothing the US presented “is acceptable to any of the Arab countries.”