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Riyadh advancing Israeli interests, Palestinian officials worry

Palestinian officials have expressed worry that Saudi Arabia is forgoing important Palestinian rights as it acts behind the scenes to advance a United States “grand bargain” over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that heavily favors Israeli interests.

Four Palestinian officials told Reuters on Friday on condition of anonymity on Friday that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had communicated a proposal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that would give away the right of return for Palestinian refugees and the status of al-Quds as the capital of a future Palestinian state in return for conditions unfavorable to Palestinians.

That proposal has reportedly been shaped by Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and “senior adviser,” who has developed a close relationship with Mohammed bin Salman.

The Palestinian officials expressed concern that the proposal is too much in line with Israeli interests and to the disadvantage of Palestinians, whose land Zionist regime has occupied.

Trump on Wednesday declared that the US was recognizing al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and had instructed his administration to begin the process of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the ancient city.

Trump’s controversial move sparked a wave of condemnations from the international community and warnings of further inflammation of the tensions in the occupied territories. It also led to violent clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

But that declaration was welcomed by Zionist regime, which claims sovereignty over the whole al-Quds. This is while the international community views East al-Quds as occupied land and the Palestinians want it as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The Palestinians officials told Reuters they feared that by the Quds announcement, Trump would align with Zionist regime in offering the Palestinians limited self-government inside disconnected West Bank patches, with no right of return for the displaced population.

According to one of the Palestinian officials, the US proposal that bin Salman communicated to Abbas included establishing “a Palestinian entity” in Gaza as well as the West Bank administrative areas A and B and 10 percent of area C.

Under the plan, however, Israeli settlements would stay in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian refugees would not be able to return to their homeland, and the Tel Aviv regime would maintain control over borders, the source added.