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Report: Saudis Repeatedly Rejected Requests by P.A.’s Abbas to Visit Before Biden

Riyadh only granted Palestinian leader a short phone call with king, amid reports Saudi Arabia would take steps toward normalization with Israel long opposed by Ramallah.
Saudi special forces troops salute in front of a screen displaying images Saudi King Salman, right, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after a military parade in preparation for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
Saudi special forces troops salute in front of a screen displaying images Saudi King Salman, right, and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after a military parade in preparation for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, July 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

Saudi Arabia rejected repeated requests from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to visit the kingdom before US President Joe Biden’s trip to the region, according to a Thursday report.

A few days ago, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman granted Abbas a short phone call, but no visit, an unsourced Channel 12 report said.

Biden is visiting Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia this week. He is expected to announce an agreement while in Saudi Arabia that will see Riyadh take steps toward normalization with Israel. The Palestinians have long appealed to Arab states to shun Israel until there is substantial progress toward a Palestinian state.

Biden arrived in Israel on Wednesday and has held warm meetings with Israel’s leadership and displayed steadfast support for the Jewish state during the trip.

On Friday, Biden heads to the West Bank to meet with Abbas, where he will likely receive a less cordial welcome. He angered the Palestinian leadership on Wednesday by saying at his official welcome ceremony in Israel that a two-state solution was not feasible “in the near term.”

March 27, 2022, in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

Saudi Arabia rejected repeated requests from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to visit the kingdom before US President Joe Biden’s trip to the region, according to a Thursday report.

A few days ago, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman granted Abbas a short phone call, but no visit, an unsourced Channel 12 report said.

Biden is visiting Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia this week. He is expected to announce an agreement while in Saudi Arabia that will see Riyadh take steps toward normalization with Israel. The Palestinians have long appealed to Arab states to shun Israel until there is substantial progress toward a Palestinian state.

Biden arrived in Israel on Wednesday and has held warm meetings with Israel’s leadership and displayed steadfast support for the Jewish state during the trip.

On Friday, Biden heads to the West Bank to meet with Abbas, where he will likely receive a less cordial welcome. He angered the Palestinian leadership on Wednesday by saying at his official welcome ceremony in Israel that a two-state solution was not feasible “in the near term.”Get The Times of Israel’s Daily Editionby email and never miss our top storiesNewsletter email addressGET ITBy signing up, you agree to the terms

The Palestinians are also irked that the US did not hold Israel more directly responsible for the killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. The US said Israeli troops were likely responsible, but had not deliberately targeted the reporter.

Biden has pushed Israeli leadership to rein in settlement construction, and Israel made a series of concessions to the Palestinians immediately before Biden’s visit.

Biden is not expected to make any significant announcements regarding Israeli-Palestinian agreements during the trip. Prime Minister Yair Lapid spoke in favor of a two-state solution alongside Biden on Thursday, but as a caretaker prime minister, he has little power to enact anything significant.

After the West Bank, Biden will travel directly to Saudi Arabia from Israel, marking the first time a US president flies between the two countries.

The US has said that better integrating Israel into the region is a focus of the trip, but has played down hopes for any major breakthroughs in the Israeli-Saudi relationship.

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