Report: Saudis hint Arab plan could be modified

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Report: Saudis hint Arab plan could be modifiedPDFPrintE-mail
Israel
Written by Chris Perver  
Sunday, 25 March 2007 17:00
At least that depends on what news article you read. Just a few days ago, Saudi Foreign Minister Al Faisal was stating that the Saudi peace initiative, which offers Israel a normalization of relations in return for a full withdrawal from land captured during the Six Day War, could not be modified. The deal also demands Israel withdraw from East Jerusalem, and absorb thousands of Palestinian refugees and their families who lived in Israel prior to 1948. For the Jews it is believed losing East Jerusalem would mean losing control of the Temple Mount, and permitting a Palestinian "right of return" would be tantamount to state-suicide for Israel.

Quote: "Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal reaffirmed yesterday that the 2002 Arab peace plan which offers Israel normal ties with all Arab states in return for full withdrawal from Arab land occupied in the 1967 Middle East war. "There will be no amendment to the Arab peace initiative. We have said this 20 times before in the past and this is the last time I will say this," Prince Saud told reporters in Riyadh.

But sources speaking on the condition of anonymity state that Arab nations are considering "re-packaging" of the Saudi deal, which may make it easier for Israel to accept the deal without making it appear that the Arabs are watering down their demands. Arab leaders have suggested Israel could accept the Saudi Initiative "in principle", after which the two sides could get down to the business of negotiating the details.

Quote: "The diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions, said Arab countries including Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia would be proposing "a repackaging" of the deal. Under that repackaging, the Arab leaders would insist that Israel accept the 2002 Arab peace plan in principle before returning to any talks, but would also agree that the Palestinians and Arab countries would be ready to soften their conditions once negotiations began, the diplomats said. Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa, who spoke Monday at the foreign ministers' meeting in addition to al-Faisal, did not insist in his speech that the plan could never be changed. That was viewed as significant.

This is the exact situation I predicted may happen last month, that Arab leaders could accept a normalization of relations with Israel in return for a promise to withdraw from all land captured during the Six Day War. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert has already stated he views parts of the Saudi Initiative as positive. Of course we don't know whether it will be this plan or whether it will be a European plan that will be adopted. But what seems certain is that Israel is moving towards making peace with their enemies, which will culminate in the greatest period of persecution the Jewish nation has ever faced.

Source Asharq Alawsat, Jerusalem Post

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