Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly agreed to an interim agreement with Israel – one that does not include a Palestinian state – as part of a normalization of ties deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel.
One day after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) told Fox News that the “Palestinian issue has to be solved” before peace with Israel is reached, Israel’s Channel 12 reported that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has a defined list of demands that they are willing to move forward with.
Abbas has never before agreed to an interim deal and refused to discuss such an option, the report noted. The new Palestinian approach might be related to the sidelining of the PA in the Abraham Accords.
According to the details revealed, Abbas expects Israel to declare its commitment to the two-state solution. In addition, the PA will insist that the Saudi Kingdom would press Israel to recognize East Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state.
A delegation of Palestinian representatives that traveled to Saudi capital Riyadh recently had also demanded that Israel transfer parts of Area C territories in the West Bank, which are under Israel’s security control, to the PA which governs Areas A and B.
As part of the tripartite – now turned quadrilateral – agreement, the PA also want to see guarantees from Washington that Israel will stop new construction in settlements and initiatives to strengthen their own security services.
The report further mentioned that Saudi Arabia is demanding that, on behalf of the PA, the U.S. reopen the PLO’s Consulate in Washington that was closed in 2018 by then-U.S. President Donald Trump, the opening a U.S. embassy in East Jerusalem, as well as an upgrade to Palestinian status in the United Nations from a non-member observer state to full membership.
Abbas delivered his address to the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday. He used his opportunity on the world stage to send a clear message to Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia.
"Those who think that peace can prevail in the Middle East without the Palestinian people enjoying their full legitimate and national rights would be delusional," Abbas said.
In his speech, the PA leader accused Israel of an alleged withdrawal from the Oslo Accords, saying that Israel “destroyed the two-state solution.” He added that Israeli ministers are “proud of apartheid.”
"My message today to the Israelis is that this hideous occupation that is imposed on us will not last, regardless of their ambitions and their delusions, because the Palestinian people will remain on their land which they have inhabited for thousands of years as again affirmed by a recent UNESCO resolution on the city of Jericho which has existed for 10,000 years," Abbas said.
"The Palestinian people cannot leave this land and if anyone should leave, it should be the occupier."
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported on Thursday that the U.S. is not only exploring the option of a defense alliance with Saudi Arabia, but also with Israel. The Biden administration believes it could be easier to get the approval of two-thirds of the U.S Senate if it offered both Middle Eastern partners twin security pacts in exchange for normalization of ties between them. This initiative could also push back against China in the region.
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.