The dangerous US peace plan adopted by Donald Trump and backed by Saudi Arabia is the typical vision of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vision on the Palestinians, The New York Times reported late Sunday.
Presented by Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman to the Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas during the latter’s visit to Riyadh last month, the plan proposes that the Palestinians would receive a non-contiguous state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip without full sovereignty over the territory they control.
It also included that the vast majority of the illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank would not be evacuated; the Palestinians would not receive East Jerusalem as their capital; and Palestinian refugees and their descendants would not be allowed to return to Israel.
The report came as speculation was mounting over whether US President Donald Trump would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the effect such a move would have on American efforts to revive peace talks.
The report said the plan, many of whose tenets mirrored those favoured by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, raised consternation among Abbas and other Arab officials as to the US’s intentions for an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and whether the powerful crown prince was acting on behalf of the Trump administration.
Among the elements of the Saudi proposal outlined in the report were establishing the capital of a future Palestinian state in Abu-Dis, a suburb of Jerusalem.
Another reported element of the Saudi pitch was to propose adding portions of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula to Gaza in exchange for territories in the West Bank that the Palestinians would cede to Israel.
Egypt has rejected such proposals in the past, with former president Hosni Mubarak recalling last week that he shot down the idea when it was raised by Netanyahu in 2010.
The report said Abbas was told by the Saudis he had two months to either accept the plan or face pressure to step down in favour of someone more amenable to the proposal.
Israeli newspaper Times of Israel said details of the proposal presented to Abbas by the Saudi crown prince were confirmed by numerous sources, including a senior figure in Abbas’s Fatah party, a Palestinian official in Lebanon, a Lebanese politician, Western officials and Israel’s Joint (Arab) List MK Ahmad Tibi.