Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud walks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during a reception ceremony in Riyadh in 2015..
(photo credit: REUTERS/FAISAL AL NASSER)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has offered Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas $10 billion if he accepts US President Donald Trump’s plan for peace in the Middle East, also known as the “deal of the century,” the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported on Tuesday.
A senior Palestinian official in Ramallah refused to comment on the report.
Referring to meetings between the Saudi crown prince and Abbas, the newspaper said that “according to information obtained by Al-Akhbar
, Salman briefed Abbas about the details of the deal of the century and asked him to accept it. According to the information, Salman asked Abbas: What is the annual budget of your entourage? Abbas replied: I’m not a prince to have my own entourage.”
At the stage, according to the newspaper, the Saudi crown prince asked Abbas “How much money does the Palestinian Authority and its ministers and employees need?”
Abbas replied that the Palestinians need $1 billion each year, the report said. “I will give you $10 billion over 10 years if you accept the deal of the century,” Salman was quoted as telling Abbas.
Abbas, however, rejected the offer and said it would “mean the end of my political life,” the report added.Al-Akhbar
said that the conversation between Salman and Abbas was based on reports written by the Jordanian envoy to Ramallah, Khaled al-Shawabkeh.
The envoy’s report, which was sent to the Jordanian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, was reportedly based on briefings he had with senior Palestinian officials in Ramallah.
The newspaper quoted the Jordanian envoy’s report as saying that the Saudi crown prince also told Abbas that the Trump administration was prepared to give the Palestinians the land which they already live on.
Salman also told Abbas – according to the report – that Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries would provide financial support to the Palestinians and help them launch projects in the West Bank that will lead to economic prosperity, while expanding Palestinian control over areas B and C. “Saudi Arabia will support the Palestinian Authority with more than $4b.,” Salman reportedly told Abbas.
“Abbas explained to Salman the current situation, and said that he would be unable to make any concessions regarding the settlements, the two-state solution and Jerusalem, and that any pressure will push the Palestinian Authority to dissolve its institutions and hold Israel responsible for managing the affairs of the Palestinians [in the West Bank].”
In another report by the Jordanian envoy, Abbas’s adviser, Mahmoud Habbash, is said to have criticized Egypt for its “inexperience” and for having too much confidence in the Americans, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Habbash claimed that the Saudi message to Abbas was that he should accept Trump’s upcoming plan, the report said.
It further quoted Habbash as warning: “The ‘deal of the century’ will change the foundations of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Sinai and even the Gulf states. Sinai will become a solution to the proposals for the establishment of a Palestinian state, and what’s left of the West Bank will become cantons under Jordan’s administrative rule and Israel’s security control.”
The newspaper said that the reports sent from the Jordanian envoy in Ramallah to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Amman “demonstrate the extent of Jordan’s concern over the repercussions of the deal of the century.”
The Jordanian concern is understandable, the newspaper added, “especially after the American and Israeli media revealed the heavy tax that Jordan will be required to pay with regards to the possibility of resettling the Palestinians in the kingdom, withdrawing the Hashemite guardianship over the holy sites in Jerusalem and granting it to Saudi Arabia, and the possibility of slicing lands from Jordan’s eastern border that would be given to the Palestinians, in return for lands that will be given to Jordan from northern parts of Saudi Arabia.”
Jason Greenblatt, US Special Representative for International Negotiations, last week denied rumors that the “deal of the century” would include a confederation involving Jordan, Israel and the PA. “King Abdullah II and Jordan are strong US allies,” he said on Twitter. “Rumors that our peace vision includes a confederation between Jordan, Israel & the PA, or that the vision contemplates making Jordan the homeland for Palestinians, are incorrect. Please don’t spread rumors.”
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