September 28, 2006

BECAUSE THEY AREN'T ZIONISTS?:

Saudis in Quiet Talks To Revive Arab Peace Bid: Riyadh’s Envoy Lobbies U.S. Jews As Israeli Leaders Warm to Effort (Marc Perelman, Sep 29, 2006, The Forward)

[I]n New York the Saudis were lobbying the American Jewish community. The longtime Saudi foreign minister, Prince Faisal-al Saud, held a September 22 meeting with five prominent Jewish communal leaders, during which he stressed the need to jumpstart the Israeli-Palestinian process by reviving the so-called Saudi Initiative of 2002. The initiative offered Arab normalization with Israel in exchange for a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 armistice line. The offer, which was endorsed by the Arab League, was rejected by then-Prime minister Ariel Sharon, mainly because of objections to the vague language about the right of return of Palestinian refugees and the return to the 1967 line

“It was a very worthwhile meeting; we were encouraged by the tone and what we heard on the Palestinian issue and on Iran,” said David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee. Harris was one of the five Jewish participants in the one-hour meeting with prince Faisal and the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki. The other participants were Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League; Jack Rosen, president of the American Jewish Congress; real estate mogul and publisher Mortimer Zuckerman, and Robert Lifton, a former president of AJCongress and a founder of the Israel Policy Forum, who was involved in the 2002 Saudi plan. [...]

The day before his meeting with Jewish officials, Faisal said that Arab countries had reached a “very significant” consensus after the recent war in Lebanon on the need for a new start in the Middle East peace process. He urged Palestinian leaders to settle on a united stance toward Israel and to clarify whether they accept the Arab League peace initiative, which offers Israel full normalization of relations with the Arab world in return for a withdrawal to the June 1967 line and a just and agreed-upon solution to the refugee problem on the basis of U.N. Resolution 194.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 28, 2006 6:08 PM
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