President Donald Trump’s Dec. 6 decision on Jerusalem is considered in Ramallah to be a major setback for what was until now a potential diplomatic track toward Palestinian statehood. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was in contact with the Arab League and personally addressed the summit of Muslim leaders in Istanbul on Dec. 13, expressing his concerns and anger over the US decision. But realists in the Palestinian leadership understand that, so far, these reactions were only of rhetorical value. Abbas has little leverage, while Hamas has been strengthened.
After the meeting in Istanbul, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman invited Abbas to Saudi Arabia. According to a senior Israeli Foreign Ministry policy analyst, the Saudis were irritated by the harsh anti-American tone adopted at the Istanbul conference, which was chaired by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the presence of Iranian leadership.