Powered by WebAds

Sunday, October 12, 2008

'Secret talks' to be held this week at Oxford?

The Times of London's leftist Israeli correspondent Uzi Mahnaimi is reporting that 'confidential talks' will take place this week at Oxford that include a member of the Saudi royal family and a raving leftist former director of Israel's foreign ministry.
Participants in the talks, organised by the Oxford Research Group, a charity specialising in security, are expected to include Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former Saudi intelligence chief, and Nabil Shaath, a Palestinian peace negotiator.

Israel is sending Alon Liel, a former foreign ministry director, and Matti Steinberg, an adviser to the Israeli intelligence services and to Ehud Olmert, the outgoing prime minister.

The three-day seminar, entitled Activating the Arab Peace Initiative, will try to breathe new life into a plan believed by many experts to have the best hope of resolving conflict in the region.

Drawn up by the Saudis in 2002, the initiative offers Israel a comprehensive peace treaty with 22 Arab countries in return for a withdrawal to its borders before the six-day war of 1967 when it occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights. The offer was reaffirmed at an Arab summit in Damascus earlier this year.

Although many elements may prove unacceptable to Israel, President Shimon Peres has pointedly not ruled out negotiations. “I call upon Arab leaders to come to Israel to present their initiative,” he said last month.


The Oxford conference is modelled on exploratory talks that preceded the failed Oslo Accords of 1993. There are numerous stumbling blocks but negotiators hope new leadership in America, Israel and the Palestinian territories could bring a fresh impetus.
What's wrong with this story? Lots of things.

First, its writer is the hysterical Mahnaimi.

Second, given the last fiasco Alon Liel brought us - the false start negotiations with the Assad regime - do we really want him representing us anywhere?

Third, Olmert is now a 'transition' Prime Minister, so who is sending Liel and Steinberg to Oxford? Livni? Hard to believe she'd send someone who is an 'adviser to Olmert' to a conference like this. Also hard to believe she would send someone else's director general of the foreign ministry rather than her own.

Fourth, the article way understates the problems with the Saudi plan (which, among other things, calls for the 'return' of the descendants of the 'Palestinian refugees'). It's hard to believe anyone thinks this is a productive path to negotiations.


Post a Comment

<< Home