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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Saudis will just say no

The New York Times reports that when President Obama meets Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh on Wednesday, the Saudi leader will just say no to requests that the Kingdom make 'gestures' towards Israel.
When he meets in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, with King Abdullah, [Obama] should be prepared for a polite but firm refusal, Saudi officials and political experts say. The Arab countries, they say, believe they have already made their best offer and that it is now up to Israel to make a gesture, perhaps by dismantling settlements in the West Bank or committing to a two-state solution.

“What do you expect the Arabs to give without getting anything in advance, if Israel is still hesitating to accept the idea of two states in itself?” said Mohammad Abdullah al-Zulfa, a historian and member of the Saudi Shura Council, which serves as an advisory panel in place of a parliament.

While not dismissing the possibility of some movement on the peace process, the Saudis say the Arab world made substantial concessions in the Arab Peace Initiative, which was endorsed by a 22-nation coalition during an Arab League summit in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2002. That proposal offered full recognition of Israel in exchange for Israel’s withdrawing to its 1967 borders and agreeing to a “just settlement” to the issue of the Palestinian refugees.
Could someone please explain to me just what 'substantial concessions' the Saudis and the Arab League made by proposing the 'Saudi plan' in 2002 - a plan that calls for Israel to return to indefensible borders and to allow itself to be inundated with 'Palestinian refugees' in return for a vague promise of 'normalization'? If Israel were to accept the plan, Israel would be making all of the concessions. So where are these 'substantial concessions' made by the Arabs?
“In our estimation we will judge everything by the degree of Israeli commitment, and measures that are taken,” said Ambassador Hossam Zaki, a spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry. “In other words, if the Israeli side remains evasive and does not commit to any substantial move to redress the situation and put it on the right track, it is unlikely to see that Arab countries are going to be responsive to any request of gestures.”

A Saudi official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to discuss details of the presidential visit, said that Arab nations might be willing to accept certain incentives to expedite the peace process, but only if they occur simultaneously with Israeli action.

“It depends on what the Israelis give,” the official said. “Israelis say, ‘We opened a passage.’ Come on, you open a passage, you close a passage. That is not one of the issues. Let’s deal with the major issues.”
In other words, if Israel concedes everything before even getting to a conference table, the Arab states might make some gestures. Thanks, but no thanks.


At 5:45 PM, Blogger Ashan said...

This wonderful Photoshopped pic of Hussein appeared in an Israeli paper this morning: http://rotter.net/User_files/forum/4a26334b11e80cdf.jpg

At 7:27 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

That's not acceptable to Israel - which has done just that for the past 16 years only to be met by constant Arab rejection. The Arabs want Israel to show "goodwill" but in reality they are ones saying "no." And guess who being held to the double standard. The Saudis are befriended by the US for rejecting peace but Israel is punished for demonstrating goodwill on the road map. Where is the logic in the US policy?


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