The Dome of the Rock is seen in the background as a man waves a Palestinian flag upon entering the Temple Mount, after Israel removed all security measures it had installed at the compound, in Jerusalem's Old City July 27, 2017..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman penned a letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas expressing Saudi Arabia’s support for “legitimate [Palestinian] rights” in east Jerusalem, according to the official PA news site Wafa.
“The Saudi crown prince affirmed in [the letter] that the Palestinian issue is of special and great importance and a priority for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdel Aziz,” the Wafa report said, referring to the Saudi monarch.
“The prince also emphasized the keenness of the Saudi kingdom and its continued resolve in supporting the Palestinian issue and the Palestinian people attaining their legitimate rights including those in east Jerusalem.”
Wafa’s report of the letter stands in sharp contrast to other reports in the past several months, which have suggested that Muhammad has adopted a position on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process biased in favor of the Netanyahu government.
According to reports in The New York Times
and other publications, the prince informed Abbas of the details of a forthcoming American peace plan largely unfavorable to the Palestinians in November and applied pressure on him to accept it.
Saudi, Palestinian and American officials, however, have denied these reports.
In his letter, Muhammad also said that recent changes to US policy on Jerusalem “will not change or infringe on the Palestinian people’s immutable and well-protected rights in the Jerusalem and other places in the occupied Palestinian lands,” the report said.
On December 6, US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiated the relocation of the American Embassy in Tel Aviv to the city, breaking with decades of American policy.
Since Trump announced his decisions, Abbas has declared the Palestinians will no longer cooperate with an American-led peace process and called for a multilaterally mediated peace process to replace it.
Saudi Arabia, like many other Arab countries, has sharply criticized Trump’s decisions, but has not taken retaliatory measures against the US.