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Saudi media try to rationalize betrayal of Palestinians under Trump plan

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump and Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu take part in an announcement of Trump's so-called Middle East peace plan in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on January 28, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Saudi media outlets have rallied behind their rulers in supporting US President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan, warning Palestinians that they would regret if they rejected the extremely biased initiative.

Riyadh has welcomed Trump’s plan, saying "the Kingdom appreciates the efforts made by President Trump’s administration to develop a comprehensive Palestinian-Israeli peace plan".

It has urged "direct peace negotiations between the sides under US sponsorship, in which any dispute regarding details of the plan will be settled".

At the same time, King Salman has phoned Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to “stress to him the kingdom’s steadfast position vis-à-vis the Palestinian cause and the rights of the Palestinian people”.

Abbas has joined other Palestinian leaders in vehemently rejecting the plan which they view as a total sellout of Palestine. 

Saudi government media, however, urged the Palestinians not to miss "this opportunity" and to approach the deal with a positive mindset.

State-run newspaper Okaz went on as far as to say that “the Palestinian cause is no longer the Arabs’ main cause”.

Trump unveiled the plan alongside Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Tuesday. The announcement has aroused a storm of indignation and protest across different countries in the Middle East.

Saudi Shura Council member Ibrahim al-Nahas, who lectures on political science at King Saud University, told Okaz that Trump’s plan "is an important stage in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process in particular, and in the peace process in the Middle East in general”.

“All the Palestinian elements must examine the plan carefully, and especially while keeping in mind past experience,” he said, apparently addressing Palestinian resistance groups. 

“Arab elements, too, must closely examine Trump’s peace plan before releasing their decisions, which largely match the emotional aspect,” because “history has proven them wrong,” he added.

Several articles in the Saudi media and tweets by their writers unanimously tried to suggest that every plan offered to the Palestinians had been worse than the one before it, and that if they rejected Trump’s plan now, they would long for it in the future.

‘Sign the deal, then curse it’

One purported Saudi journalist writing for Okaz urged the Palestinian Authority to "sign the deal and then curse it as much as you want, day and night”.

“The Palestinians have in decades past specialized in missing golden opportunities because of mistaken assessment of their capabilities and of the crisis," Ahmad Adnan wrote.

The so-called “deal of the century” would, among other contentious things, enshrine Jerusalem al-Quds as “Israel’s undivided capital” and allow the regime to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

All Palestinian groups have angrily rejected the plan, while Israeli groups of different political persuasions have enthusiastically embraced it, hailing it for offering them more than they expected.  

Abbas on Saturday cut relations with the US and Israel after saying he did not want his name to go down in history for betraying the Palestinians. 

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