Powered by WebAds

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

What Obama should tell the Saudis

President Obama will be in Riyadh today to meet with Saudi King Abdullah. Michael Totten raises the issue of the ridiculous extent to which the Saudis refuse all contact with Israelis (via Michael's stand-in blogging at Instapundit).
The New York Times inadvertently highlights how much more intransigent than Israel most Arab states are. President Barack Obama is soon heading to Saudi Arabia, where he will present wish-lists from the U.S. government, from the Israeli government, and from the Palestinian Authority. Israel isn’t asking for much – just a few symbolic tourist visas, meetings between Saudi officials and their Israeli counterparts, and the opening of a Saudi interests office in Tel Aviv. “These would be a tall order for the Arab kingdom,” the Times says.

Good grief. The Obama Administration expects Israelis to stop building houses in Jewish neighborhoods in suburban Jerusalem that they never intend to abandon, yet the Saudis won’t even talk to Israelis or let a few Jews visit the beach.

Once in a while, it’s wise to refuse meetings with enemies. President Franklin Roosevelt didn’t negotiate with Adolf Hitler or Emperor Hirohito during World War II. President Obama won’t hold a summit with the Taliban’s Mullah Omar or with Al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden. Israel, though, isn’t a threat to Saudi Arabia. Israel has never attacked Saudi Arabia. Israel almost certainly never will attack Saudi Arabia. The overwhelming majority of Israelis want peace and normal relations with Saudi Arabia now. Saudi Arabia’s refusal to even speak to Israelis under these circumstances makes its government more reactionary than Israel’s would have been had then-Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin refused to meet with then-Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1979.

The idea that Saudi Arabia “can’t” have diplomatic relations with Israel until the Palestinian question is resolved has become mainstream, even axiomatic, but it’s nonsense.
The Saudis have attempted to insert themselves into the 'peace process' via the plan that bears their name. Let's say that they would have a lot more credibility and gain some measure of Israeli trust if they were willing to relate to Israelis on even the most basic level. Why should we even discuss a plan that comes from a Kingdom that still treats Israelis - and Jews - as if they have horns.

Not that I expect President Obama to ask the Saudis to issue tourist visas to Israelis, set up an interests section in Tel Aviv or meet with their Israeli counterparts. After Obama's last meeting with Abdullah (see picture above), it seems that he's too in awe of the King to even ask for the time of day.


At 7:05 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its hypocritical of the US to ask Israel for concessions when it won't even ask the Saudis to drop their hostility to Jews. And it hasn't escaped the Saudis' notice Obama is NOT going to visit Israel. Its like Obama does not view Israel as an equal that deserves the protocol of a state visit. And he thinks Israel will buckle under when his Administration turns up the pressure on the Jewish State?

Dream on!

At 9:32 PM, Blogger Hutzpan said...

"President Obama won’t hold a summit with the Taliban’s Mullah Omar or with Al Qaeda’s Osama bin Laden. "

I wouldn't be so sure.


Post a Comment

<< Home