Abbas confidante: Riyadh backs PA president on reconciliation, peace efforts

Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman affirmed their support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ position that the Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip, should be ruled by “one authority, one law and one weapon,” Abbas confidante Ahmad Majdalani said on Monday.

Abbas met Salman And Muhammed bin Salman last week in Riyadh following a short visit to Egypt, where he held talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

“Saudi Arabia affirmed its support for Palestinian reconciliation and the president’s position that there should be one authority, one law and one weapon,” Majdalani told The Jerusalem Post in a phone call.

In mid-October, Egypt brokered a deal between Abbas’s party Fatah and Hamas to advance reconciliation efforts and restore the PA’s governing authority in Gaza. Hamas has ruled Gaza since ousting the Fatah-dominated PA in 2007 from the territory.

Since Fatah and Hamas signed the agreement, Abbas has said he would not accept any scenario other than the PA taking full control of Gaza including all the weapons there.

Hamas, meanwhile, has rejected Abbas’s demand, asserting it would not allow anyone to disarm its armed wing, the Ezzeldin Kassam Brigades.

Majdalani also denied a Channel 10 report that said the Saudi leadership presented Abbas with an ultimatum to either accept an American peace plan or resign.

“The truth is that report is nonsense,” he said. “Is it possible to exert pressure on someone to accept something that does not exist? We still do not know of any American peace initiative.”

In addition, Majdalani said the Saudi king and crown prince offered their support for the Palestinian position on the peace process.

“They expressed their support for the Palestinian position that any peace effort should be based on the Arab Peace Initiative,” Majdalani said.

The initiative calls on Israel to accept the establishment of a Palestinian state along 1967 borders and a “just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem” based on UN Security Council resolution 194 in exchange for the Arab world establishing normal relations with it.

Majdalani also said that Saudi Arabia’s top leaders said their country is prepared to increase its economic assistance to the PA.

Palestinian officials have said that if PA takes back responsibility for Gaza, the Ramallah-based authority would need to raise millions of dollars to rebuild the Strip and finance its governing institutions.

“Saudi Arabia affirmed its readiness to increase its support for the PA’s material needs for Gaza,” Majdalani stated.

Since the its establishment in the 1990s, the PA has relied heavily on Saudi Arabia’s financial backing.

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