Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to visit Saudi Arabia amid muted Jerusalem response

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas to visit Saudi Arabia amid muted Jerusalem response
The Palestinian president is expected to travel to Saudi Arabia a second time this month to discuss the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital
2 min read
19 December, 2017
The trip was described as a reflection of the "ongoing coordination" [Getty]

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas will travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to discuss with King Salman and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Bassam al-Agha, the Palestinian ambassador to Saudi Arabia described the trip as a reflection of the "ongoing coordination" between Abbas and Riyadh.

US president Donald Trump broke with decades of US policy earlier this month by recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and declaring he would move the country's embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city.

Abbas' visit comes at a time where Palestinians are increasingly wary of what has been seen as a weak Saudi response. Despite Saudi King Salman warning US President Donald Trump against the controversial move, the domestic response has been muted, and appear to be attempting to limit Israeli criticism in Saudi media.

Saudi Arabia failed to send a high level representative to the emergency Islamic Conference Organisation summit in Istanbul last week.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Jordanian King Abdullah II and Lebanese President Michel Aoun were among the heads of state present, as well as the emirs of Qatar and Kuwait and presidents of Afghanistan and Indonesia.

The conference, despite being hailed by Erdogan as a "world vote of unity" was mired by lower-level attendance of US allies, with the level of Saudi representation at a senior foreign ministry official.

Riyadh has reportedly forbidden peaceful protests in support of the Palestinians or stands of solidarity.

Sources have claimed that Riyadh has ordered media outlets not to focus "too much attention" on Washington's controversial decision.

The Saudi royal court sent a "severe warning" to bosses of newspapers, television and radio stations about the issue which has sparked protests across the Arab world, sources told The New Arab.

Saudi Arabia and Israel do not have official relations but various reports have recently emerged of co-operation between the two countries, who share a common foe in Iran.

The expected visit will be Abbas' second visit to Riyadh within a month. Al-Agha has denied that Abbas has come under pressure to make concessions to Israel during the first visit, saying that such reports have no basis in reality, and merely seek to undermine Saudi-Palestinian relations.