Middle Eastern Leaders Hold Covert Meeting to Discuss the Future of Gaza

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority (PA) held a secret meeting in Riyadh about a week ago, focused on plans for Gaza governance when the war is over. They also reportedly discussed ways in which a “renewed Palestinian Authority” can take part in the management of the Strip, according to several sources. The meeting indicates that the Palestinian Authority and the Arab countries are making progress in planning moves for “the day after” the war in Gaza. Meanwhile, in Israel, the same discussions are underway, though no solutions have been accomplished so far. The meeting in Riyadh was organized by the Saudi National Security Adviser Musad Al-Aiban and was attended by the Palestinian General Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj, the Egyptian Intelligence Chief Abbas Kamel, and the Jordanian Intelligence Chief Ahmed Hosni.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (credit: REUTERS)

A source close to the matter stated that Israel was informed about the holding of the meeting and its contents by some of the participants. According to two sources familiar with the contents of the meeting, the Saudis, Egyptians, and Jordanians made it clear to the head of Palestinian intelligence that the PA must carry out reforms that will allow renewal in the leadership ranks as well. This includes the transfer of certain powers from President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) to a new prime minister to be appointed. The Saudis emphasized at the meeting that they are still interested in moving towards normalization with Israel in exchange for practical and irreversible steps on the part of Israel and the international community on the way to a Palestinian state – even if these do not result in the establishment of a Palestinian state immediately. The embassies of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt in Washington did not respond to requests for comment. Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh did not comment.