Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas turned down an offer of $10 billion from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman if he would accept the forthcoming U.S. Mideast peace plan, according to the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar on Tuesday.
A senior Palestinian official in Ramallah refused to comment on the report, which gave a detailed account of a conversation between Salman and Abbas which it said was provided by the Jordanian envoy to Ramallah, Khaled al-Shawabkeh. The envoy’s information was itself based on what he had heard from senior Palestinian officials in Ramallah.
After briefing Abbas on the contents of the American proposals, Salman asked Abbas what his price would be:
“What is the annual budget of your entourage?” the prince asked.
Abbas replied: “I’m not a prince to have my own entourage.”
Salman: “How much money does the Palestinian Authority and its ministers and employees need?”
Abbas replied that the Palestinians need $1 billion each year, the report said.
“I will give you $10 billion over 10 years if you accept the deal of the century,” Salman was quoted as telling Abbas.
Abbas, however, said no, because if he did it would “mean the end of my political life.”
The newspaper quoted the Jordanian envoy’s report as saying that the Saudi crown prince also told Abbas that the Trump administration was prepared to give the Palestinians the land which they already live on.
Persisting, Salman reportedly told Abbas that Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries would help them expand their control over Areas B and C in Yehudah and Shomron, and provide financial support for projects to boost their failing economy. “Saudi Arabia will support the Palestinian Authority with more than $4 billion,” Salman reportedly told Abbas.
Abbas explained the political realities that constrain him, saying he could not make concessions regarding the settlements, the two-state solution and Yerushalayim, and that any pressure will push the Palestinian Authority to dissolve its institutions and hold Israel responsible for managing the affairs of the Palestinians [in the West Bank].”