With Abbas Visit, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Reaffirms Support for Palestine

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s longstanding support for the Palestinian cause during a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on Wednesday, in the wake of President Trump’s controversial move to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy there.

The meeting between King Salman and President Abbas is the latest sign of public dissatisfaction by the Saudi government in response to President Trump’s decision. King Salman has denounced the decision by President Trump to upend decades of U.S. foreign policy and potentially hinder future peace and stability in the region.

President Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, is set to face critics of the decision Thursday as the 193-member UN General Assembly will hold a rare emergency session, at the request of Arab and Muslim countries, to vote on a draft resolution that was vetoed by the US on Monday in the 15-member Security Council.

Saudi Arabia's King Salman with Mahmoud Abbas.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman with Mahmoud Abbas.

The other 14 council members voted in favor of the Egyptian-drafted resolution, which expressed “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem.”

The King spoke with President Trump via phone on Wednesday, but according to the Saudi Press Agency, the focus of the phone call was Iran’s destabilizing efforts in the region and the security of Saudi Arabia from Houthi missile attacks. The two reportedly did not discuss directly the Palestinian issue.

Condemnations of Trump’s decision span the globe. Last week, the organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) declared East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, rejected the US stance as “dangerous” and called on the international community to follow in its footsteps, according to reports. The European Union and United Nations also voiced alarm at U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and its repercussions for any chances of reviving Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking.

Even in the United States, all but two of 11 former U.S. ambassadors contacted by The New York Times after President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital thought the plan was wrongheaded, dangerous or deeply flawed.

Meanwhile, President Trump threatened Wednesday to cut off U.S. funding to countries that support a resolution criticizing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” he said, alluding to U.S. aid, ABC News reports.