Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is reported to have offered the Palestinian president a version of the Donald Trump administration's peace plan for the Middle East which included the possibility of a Palestinian state without territorial continuity and without Jerusalem as its capital.
A New York Times report suggests President Mahmoud Abbas has been left “fuming” after hearing details of the much-hyped peace proposal during a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman in Riyadh.
According to sources who heard the Palestinian leader’s account of the meeting, the peace proposal also suggested Israeli settlements in the West Bank would remain protected, there would be right of return of Palestinian refugees, and that the new state of Palestine would have its capital city in Abu Dis, a town which borders Jerusalem.
Abbas aides suggested the proposal was something “no Palestinian leader could accept."
The report has subsequently been denied by the Palestinian Authority and the White House – with the Saudi government also insisting they would not support these positions.
But there is speculation that the Saudi Crown Prince has deliberately unveiled a worst-case scenario for the Palestinian leadership so that they can make a forthcoming official offer seem generous in comparison.
The White House has been completing what has become known as the “ultimate deal” for the region over the past year, with Mr Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kusher at the forefront alongside other aides.
In an appearance at a Middle East conference in Washington on Sunday, Mr Kushner said: “We know what’s in the plan.
“The Palestinians know what discussions we’ve had with them. The Israelis know what discussions we’ve had with them.”
But a White House spokesperson said a report on the details of the plan was “speculation”.