Israel Reportedly Rejected Secret Saudi Peace Plan After 2014 Gaza War
The Israeli government reportedly torpedoed a Saudi peace plan presented after the 2014 war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Riyadh was involved in brokering the cease-fire that ended the 50-day conflict and apparently used the opportunity to encourage Israel to finalize a deal with the Palestinians. The proposal was described by local media as an “upgraded version of the Arab Peace Initiative,” which Jerusalem in 2002 rejected out-of-hand due to its immutable call for an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 borders. The secret three-pronged Saudi initiative also included the normalization of relations between the Jewish state and Arab nations and the creation of an alliance structure to address shared concerns about Iran’s nuclear project and regional expansionism. According to the report, late King Abdullah dispatched his special envoy, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in an unnamed third country where the two agreed to jointly announce the peace initiative the following month at the United Nations General Assembly. The sides then exchanged documents outlining their positions, only to have the process break down after the Israeli premier allegedly refused to bend. The news surfaced as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met in Riyadh with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, both of whom reiterated support for the establishment of a Palestinian state with the eastern part of Jerusalem as its capital. Abbas’ visit comes on the backdrop of Wednesday’s opening of an American-sponsored conference in Poland on peace and security in the Middle East. The PA is boycotting the event, during which White House officials are expected to tease elements of President Donald Trump’s two-years-in-the-making plan to jump-start the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.