Recent behind-the-scenes contacts between Israel and Saudi Arabia have drawn the ire of Palestinian officials, The Times of Israel reported.
Senior Israeli and Saudi officials held a series of secret meetings in Cairo with their Egyptian hosts mediating last week, according to Israel’s Channel 10.
“The warm relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia are damaging the Palestinian Authority,” a PA official was quoted saying. “It seems that Israel is no longer the greatest enemy in the region anymore.”
Besides the peace process, the discussions in Cairo focused on the economic interests of Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, particularly in the Red Sea region.
Last Friday, a report in the privately-owned Egyptian newspaper Al Shorouk described a move afoot by several unnamed Arab countries to pressure PA President Mahmoud Abbas to accept whatever peace plan the Trump administration produces, lest they “regret” it later. The Palestinian boycott of American diplomats is still in effect, since President Donald Trump’s December 6 declaration of Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital.
The Americans, according to the Egyptian report, have let it be known in some Arab capitals that the embassy move is “part of an American effort to persuade Israel, especially the hardliners, to agree to possible concessions to the Palestinians.”
Pres. Trump has said Israel will have to “pay a price” for the recognition, though he has not yet named his price.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials involved in preparing the peace plan have discouraged speculation about what it contains, though purported disclosures of some of its contents persist in the media.