Saudi Arabia: West Bank city Abu Dis to be future Palestinian capital, not Jerusalem

Peace plan would strip PA preconditions for negotiations, proposes Abu Dis as Palestinian capital; Kushner: We know what’s in the plan. The Palestinians know what discussions we’ve had with them. The Israelis know what discussions we’ve had with them, Dec. 4, 2017.



Reports claim that a US peace plan backed by Saudi Arabia offered an initiative to the Palestinian Authority that would allocate the Palestinian village of Abu Dis as a future capital of a Palestinian state, as well as remove preconditions for negotiations.

Media reports claim that the peace initiative offers a non-contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and proposes the West Bank city of Abu Dis, which is adjacent to Jerusalem, as a capital city.

The plan proposes a Palestinian state to be created in Area A, majority of which is already controlled by the PA, and the moving of some Israeli settlements in Area C. Under the plan, majority of Israeli settlements would not be evacuated.

Additionally, the Palestinians would not be granted the right of return for Palestinian refugees, the vast majority living in Middle Eastern countries.

Details of the plan were given by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salma to President Abbas in Riyadh last month. The Saudis reportedly offered to significantly increase their aid for the Palestinians as part of the plan, with reports claiming the Saudis told Abbas he has two months to consider the initiative, and failure to do so would result in pressure for his resignation.

Saudi Arabia denied the reports, the Kingdom’s Ambassador to the United States stating in response, “The Kingdom remains committed to a settlement based on the Arab peace initiative of 2002, including East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. To suggest otherwise is false.”

Speaking at the Saban Forum on Sunday, Jared Kushner addressed the peace process and the Trump Administration’s efforts in the region. On negotiations and developments regarding the peace plan, Kushner stated, “We know what’s in the plan. The Palestinians know what discussions we’ve had with them. The Israelis know what discussions we’ve had with them.”

On Israel’s standing in the Middle East and the region’s fight against ISIS and Islamic extremism, he stated “A lot of countries in the Middle East want the same thing- economic progress, peace for their people. Many countries in the region see Israel as a much more likely ally than it was 20 years ago because of Iran, because of ISIS. A lot of people want to see it put together.

Kushner also addressed the Saudi’s relations with the Palestinians, describing that “The Saudis care a lot about the Palestinian people, they believe the Palestinian people need to have hope and opportunity, and this has been a big priority for the King and the Crown Prince [in] finding a solution to this problem. They’ve been very committed to doing that. Not just the Saudis- all the countries in the region.”

The reports come as President Trump is expected to announce the United States’ official recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital on Wednesday. The Trump Administration reportedly began notify its ambassadors in the Middle East on the announcement. Trump is also expected to sign the Jerusalem Embassy Act, a law passed in 1995 to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The law can be bypassed if waived by the President every six months.



Photo: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salma, CC, 2017.