PA preemptively lobbying Arab and African support against US peace deal; Abbas met with Saudi leadership following address at African Union.


Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas visited Saudi Arabia on Tuesday as part of efforts to meet with Arab leadership ahead of the US peace deal publication in April.

Abbas, alongside the Palestinian Authority’s head of intelligence, Majed Faraj, met with both Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, their meeting centered on the “consequences” of the US peace deal. Reports from Palestinian and Saudi media claim the PA head is preemptively meeting with Arab leaders to counter support for the deal.

Both Saudi leaders voiced support for an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, King Salman pledging that Saudi Arabia “permanently stands with Palestine and the brotherly Palestinian people’s right to an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.”

Abbas recently attended the 32nd African Union Summit in Addis Ababa where he called on African nations to support an international peace conference. Abbas met with African leaders, his talks centered on combatting the US peace deal and Israel’s attempts to “change the character and identity of the city of Jerusalem”. He referred to the common “struggle against colonialism, racism and injustice and the affirmation of the right of peoples to self-determination are common issues between Palestine and the peoples of the African continent.”

Abbas claimed that Israel and the United States took “illegal measures…  to transfer its embassy and recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to cut off its aid to UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees].” He announced, “we believe in negotiations as the only way to peace between us and the Israelis, and with the full American alignment of the occupying state, at the expense of our legitimate rights, we call for the convening of an international conference and the formation of a multilateral mechanism to take care of any future negotiations.”

The PA president is expected to meet with further regional leadership, mainly from Egypt, the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia, ahead of the upcoming disclosure of the Trump Administration’s peace plan. The US State Department confirmed last month that details would only be released following Israel’s elections scheduled for April 9.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is currently at the Warsaw Summit and will meet with US Vice President Mike Pence and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Iran and Syria. Reports claim he may meet with President Trump’s special envoy to the Middle East, Jared Kushner, who will give an address to the conference on Thursday.



Photo: a katz/