Quarterly Updates for (16 May 2018 — 15 Aug 2018)

After Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited the U.S. last quarter and made statements about the growing confluence of interests between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the Saudi relationship with the Palestinians, the Saudi role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict’s place in the political dynamics of the Middle East all came to the fore this quarter. King Salman had attempted to ease Palestinian concerns on 4/3 when he said that Riyadh remained “steadfast” in its dedication to “the Palestinian issue and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.” He went a step further this quarter. After months of intermittent reports that the Saudis would likely accept whatever peace plan the Trump administration came up with, Salman reportedly informed U.S. officials that he would not be able to support the plan if it did not provide for a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem (Reuters, 7/29).