Sunday, June 07, 2009
Saudis to US: Issue Ultimatum to Israel
Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
The United States should cut off all to Israel if the Jewish state does not accept the terms of the 2002 Saudi Peace Plan, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told Newsweek magazine. In answer to a question if U.S. President Barack Obama should use financial help as a tool to force Israel to implement the plan, the Foreign Minister stated, "Why not? If you give aid to someone and they indiscriminately occupy other people's lands, you bear some responsibility."
He also made it clear that the only concession the Arab world can make to Israel is diplomatic recognition, meaning that all other terms of the Saudi peace initiative are non-negotiable. “We don't have anything to offer Israel except normalization, and if we put that before the return of Arab land we are giving away the only chip in the hands of Arab countries,” he told the news weekly.
The interview was conducted the day after President Obama’s speech calling on a “new beginning” in relations between Muslim nations and the U.S.
Foreign Minister al-Faisal said that Israel “must be reasonable and make reasonable concessions.” Echoing the Arab demand that the Obama government take concrete steps, he revealed that during the president’s visit to Saudi Arabia the day before his Cairo speech, the monarchy told him it wanted to see action.
“But we did not expect him [Oba to be so specific,” the Foreign Minister revealed. “He called Israeli settlements in the West Bank ‘not legitimate’ -- and this is more important, and stronger, than ‘not legal.’”
The Saudi Peace Plans calls for the 22-member Arab league to recognize Israel as a country, but not necessarily as a Jewish state, on condition that it surrender all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, including numerous neighborhoods in Jerusalem and the Old City, where the proposed PA state would be headquartered.
It also wants to allow the immigration to Israel of five million foreign Arabs who claim ancestry in Israel.