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The Saudi Surrender Plan By: P. David Hornik
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, April 03, 2007


The media reported three violent threats against Israel that came out of the “Arab summit” in Riyadh last week.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said at the summit’s close on Thursday that by “demanding that amendments be introduced to the Arab peace initiative, [Israel] is seeking to avoid the realization of peace. . . .  The entire region will be under renewed threats of war, explosions, as well as regional and international confrontations, as a result of the absence of a solution or the impossibility of implementing one.”

Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal warned that “If Israel refuses, that means it doesn’t want peace and it places everything back into the hands of fate. They will be putting their future not in the hands of the peacemakers but in the hands of the lords of war.”

Arab League chief Amr Moussa said, “The Israeli response was to ask for an amendment. We tell them to accept it first. We are at a crossroads—either we move toward a real peace or see an escalation in the situation.

Despite being called an “Arab summit,” a large Iranian delegation also attended and its leader, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, reportedly discussed with his Arab hosts “a mutual defense treaty between Iran and the Arabs on the lines of the Tehran-Damascus pact.”

Earlier Jim Hoagland, in his Washington Post column on Saudi King Abdullah’s cancellation of his April 17 dinner at the White House, noted “Saudi decisions to seek common ground with Iran and the radicals of Hezbollah and Hamas” and that “Saudi prince [Bandar now] visits Tehran and Moscow regularly.”

Yet Western reactions to the Riyadh summit, which reaffirmed the “Saudi plan” for an Arab-Israeli settlement without changes, were ecstatic.

AP reported that “the State Department . . . welcomed the Arab League’s reaffirmation of [the plan]. ‘That is something we view as very positive,’ spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters. [He] said the United States has no interest in seeking revisions to the initiative. . . . ‘We are not and have not asked them to amend it,’ he said.”

Asked for his response to Abdullah, the Saudi monarch, calling America’s presence in Iraq an “illegitimate foreign occupation,” McCormack “characterized Saudi Arabia as a good friend and ally. . . . ”

Translation: “That’s not spit, it’s salubrious Saudi oil.”

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana weighed in with, “I think after the meeting in Riyadh [Arab nations] will be constructive and active in moving the peace process forward. The moment in which we are living is a moment of hope that we may be able to move the process of a comprehensive peace forward.”

And Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, for his part, had these things to say: “I look very favorably at the active role [the] Saudis are now playing in the Middle East for many years. . . . I think that the change in the way of thinking, the willingness to accept the state of Israel as a fact and to argue about the characteristics of a future solution, is something that I can’t but appreciate.”

What is the Saudi plan that wins such praise from Western, and even Israeli, leaders even in the face of a bellicose joint Arab-Iranian summit? The Saudi plan is, simply, a blueprint for Israel’s destruction.

Back in 2002 when the plan was hatched, as Dore Gold notes in an insightful column, “it was apparent that [it] was not directed toward Israel but rather to post-9/11 American public opinion, which had been shocked to learn that 15 of the 19 hijackers . . . were Saudi citizens.”

Gold also points out that “the last time the Saudi initiative was discussed during the 2002 Arab summit in Beirut, Hamas attacked the Park Hotel in Netanya during the first night of Passover, killing 29 Israelis and wounding over 150.” Yet Saudi “financial support of Hamas [in fact] grew to over 50 percent of Hamas’s total income in 2003”—a tradition that Hamas continued very recently when it pressured Abbas into formally “uniting” with Hamas in a junior role, thereby putting Hamas indisputably at the helm of the Palestinian Authority.

As for the Saudi plan, it calls for:

  1.  Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.
  2. Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194.
  3. The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Israel, in asking for revisions to the plan, refers most often to the second clause, an obvious call to dissolve Israel demographically by flooding it with descendants of Arabs who fled the fighting in Israel’s 1948-49 independence war—maintained ever since in “refugee camps” for exactly that purpose. 

Yet, as Gold points out, “the real problems with the Saudi peace initiative go well beyond the . . .  ‘right of return.’” The demand for “‘full withdrawal’ . . . negate[s] the territorial flexibility contained in UN Security Council Resolution 242 that intentionally did not use this limiting language.”

The result would be to “strip Israel of the ‘defensible borders’ that [President] Bush said [were] Israel’s right in his April 2004 letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.”

Bush’s letter said: “As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations. . . .  In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.”

“Yet now,” Gold observes, “the letter seems to have been forgotten. Indeed, there was a glaring contradiction between the Bush administration's new embrace of the Saudi initiative and the assurances it gave Sharon only three years ago.”

The picture, then, is not pretty. Faced with a “peace plan” blatantly calling for Israel’s demographic and military demise, Israel and the United States effusively praise the Saudi contribution to regional amity while trashing their own agreements and the hard-won diplomatic achievements of the past. Israel only asks gingerly and with exquisite politeness for some emendation at least of the demographic clause of the plan.

The Saudis respond by snubbing the United States and hosting a conference with some of the most radical actors in the Middle East that not only contemptuously refuses to change a jot or tittle of the plan but openly threatens Israel with war for not acceding to it exactly as it is and has been since 2002. Israel, the United States, and other Western parties react with—further oily tributes to the Saudis’ beneficence.

No wonder the radicals are so full of contempt and know they can get away with anything. No wonder passive, supplicant Israel is bracing for war with Saudi/Iranian-backed, Gaza-based Hamas as Israel’s leaders talk dangerous, obsequious nonsense while doing nothing on the ground to preempt or deter.


P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Beersheva. He blogs at http://pdavidhornik.typepad.com/. He can be reached at pdavidh2001@yahoo.com.


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