Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas decided to give his fiery address denouncing Israel and the United States earlier this week after Saudi officials informed him of the parameters of US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, which were overwhelmingly favorable to the Jewish state, Israeli television reported Tuesday.
A close associate of the PA president was summoned to Riyadh for an urgent meeting earlier this month. There, the details of Trump’s peace plan — which provides for a “state-minus” — were presented to the Palestinians for the first time, according to Hadashot news.
The plan’s main clauses were as follows: less-than-full statehood for the Palestinians, ongoing Israeli control over security matters, a permanent IDF presence in the Jordan Valley, land swaps not based on the pre-1967 lines, no settlement evacuations, and an Israeli veto regarding the final status of Jerusalem, which would be later negotiated by the parties, the TV report said.
On Sunday, Abbas gave a particularly harsh address at a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council, lambasting Trump and rejecting US peace overtures.
“We told Trump we will not accept his project, the ‘deal of the century,’ which has become the ‘slap of the century,’” said Abbas on Sunday. “But we will slap back.”
In a statement responding to the Tuesday TV report, the White House called it “regrettable that the Palestinian leadership is looking to create a false impression against an unfinished plan they have not even seen,” according to a Hebrew translation of the statement to Hadashot news.
“We will present our principles directly to Israelis and Palestinians at the right time and under the right conditions,” the White House statement concluded.
Abbas’s combative speech also drew harsh condemnation from Israeli leaders after he called Israel “a colonial project that has nothing to do with Judaism,” and suggested European Jews chose to undergo “murder and slaughter” in the Holocaust rather than emigrate to British-held Palestine. President Reuven Rivlin and ministers subsequently accused the PA leader of peddling anti-Semitic conspiracies.
In a bid to defuse the tensions, Trump’s special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Jason Greenblatt, is scheduled to arrive in Israel on Wednesday.
Greenblatt will take part in meetings with members of the so-called Middle East Quartet — the US, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, Channel 10 reported Tuesday.
Tensions escalated between the US and the Palestinians following Trump’s December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Abbas slammed the move and said the United States had ended its historic role as the key sponsor for Israel-Palestinian peace talks. Violent riots ensued in the West Bank and Gaza in the weeks following the announcement as Abbas’s Fatah group urged “days of rage” and terror group Hamas demanded a violent new intifada uprising.
Also in December, a number of news outlets reported that when Abbas had visited Saudi Arabia in September, Riyadh informed him of the outlines of a peace plan being drawn up by the Trump administration.
Among the elements of the Saudi proposal outlined in those earlier reports was the establishment of the capital of a future Palestinian state in Abu Dis, a suburb of Jerusalem in the West Bank, east of Israel’s security barrier.