Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement on Sunday in which he voiced "full confidence" in Saudi Arabia and praised its leaders for their support for the Palestinians.
The statement, which was published by the PA president's office, quoted Abbas as saying he has "absolute confidence" in Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
"Palestine was - and shall remain - on the side of Saudi Arabia," Abbas said. He also voiced appreciation for the positions of Saudi Arabia, "which has always supported -and still does - our just cause and the rights of our people."
The Palestinian news agency Wafa, which published Abbas's statement on Sunday afternoon, did not give any reason as to why the PA president had decided to publicly come out in support of Saudi Arabia and its leaders, especially the prince.
However, Palestinian sources in Ramallah said they believed the statement was issued at the request of the Saudi leadership in wake of charges the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was least seen entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey earlier this month. The Saudis are seeking to rally Arab support in face of growing criticism over their suspected role in the disappearance of Khashoggi, sources said.
According to the sources, Abbas's move is also directed against Qatar, which recently paid for Israeli fuel that was transferred to the power plant in the Gaza Strip.
Last year, Saudi Arabia and several Arab and Islamic countries severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, citing emirate's alleged support for terrorism. The Saudis have also criticized the Qatari-owned Al-Jazerra network and Qatar's relations with Iran and Hamas.
The PA leadership in Ramallah has strongly criticized Qatar over the delivery of the fuel to the Gaza Strip. They insist that any aid to the Gaza Strip should be channeled only through the Ramallah-based Palestinian government. Several PA and Fatah officials last week accused Qatar of meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians and working towards consolidating the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The Saudis, the sources said, are seeking to rally Arab support in face of the growing criticism over their suspected role in the disappearance of Khashoggi.
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