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Saudi Arabia won’t back out on Palestine: King Salman tells Arab allies


News Analysis |

Saudi monarch King Salman has reassured to all Arab allies in general, and Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas in particular, that Saudi Arabia will not back any plan which will compromise the status of Jerusalem or the right to return of Palestinian refugees. The reiteration of commitment came amid the fear that Saudi Arabia will back the peace plan which the United States is currently drafting as far as Palestine issue is concerned. As the result of the changing atmosphere and attitude of the Saudi ruling elite, especially under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, it was feared that KSA may support the US peace plan which might be against the aspirations of Palestinian people. But King Salman has made it clear to Palestinian President Abbas, “We will not abandon you … We accept what you accept and we reject what you reject.”

Countries like Pakistan, which are Saudi Arabia’s important strategic allies and an important part of The Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC), has always advocated for the rights of Palestinians.

The United States has delegated the authority to the President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to work out a peace plan for the issue between Israel and Palestine. In recent year, Israel has launched several operations against the Palestinians living in Gaza and west bank resulting in the death of hundreds of innocent Palestinians including children, paramedics and even journalists. Israel has faced serious condemnation for heinous state crime it continues to commit against the people living under the siege putting pressure on the US, a longtime supporter of Israel, to make efforts in stopping of this genocide.

Jared Kushner, a Jew by faith, has worked in Real Estate and has no prior of diplomacy, was tasked with crafting of a peace deal for the Palestine issue even though his religious inclination might hinder a neutral perspective toward the problem. About 18 months have elapsed since he was assigned the task but still, no concrete draft has been presented. But officials who are aware of his plan say that it does not include illegal settlements of Israel on the land claimed by Palestinians, Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine or the right to return of refugees at all. All of it makes it impossible for the Arab stakeholders of the issue, especially Palestinians, to accept the peace plan. The issue of the status of Jerusalem which the USA now accepts as the capital of Israel has already led to the death of hundreds of Palestinians by IDF bullets who were protesting along Israel’s border.

Read more: Saudi Arabia: It was a “Toy Drone” and not a Coup

Saudi Arabia, like rest of the Muslim world, has always abided with the general understanding about the right of Palestinians toward their homeland which has been occupied by Israel. But recently, since the Crown Prince’s new strategy of revamping the policies, it was suspected that he is inclined toward the plan which the United States of America is about to propose. Recently while talking for a magazine interview in the US he said that Israelis have the right to live peacefully in their own land, a statement very rare coming from an Arab official. Then later he was quoted saying that Palestinians should accept Trump’s proposal or shut up. All these statements were giving the impression that Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is inclined to give up on the traditional stance which Saudi Arabia alongside the entire Muslim world has held vis-à-vis the Palestine issue.

But given the sensitivity of the issue for billions of Muslims across the world, King Salman has decided to deal with it himself rather Crown prince with his reckless approach. Currently, Saudi Arabia is steering a coalition of Muslim forces for uprooting the growing threat of extremism. In these circumstances, the country cannot afford to lose the support it always had enjoyed by virtue of the Holy sites which happen to be situated in Saudi Arabia and has a huge emotional attachment of Muslims around the globe. Countries like Pakistan, which are Saudi Arabia’s important strategic allies and an important part of The Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC), has always advocated for the rights of Palestinians. And keeping the support of these countries is very crucial for the strategic interest of Saudi Arabia. Therefore, after giving his son a free hand to decide the discourse of the country, it is the first time King Salman has himself intervened as it was quite necessary to deal with the issue with utmost care.

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