Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal
In a press conference with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday, the Saudi FM made it 100% clear that the racist, apartheid, hereditary, absolute monarchy that he represents will not change in any detail its interpretation of the ‘Arab (or Saudi) Initiative’. He said,
Incrementalism and a step-by-step approach has not and — we believe — will not achieve peace. Temporary security, confidence-building measures will also not bring peace. What is required is a comprehensive approach that defines the final outcome at the outset and launches into negotiations over final status issues: borders, Jerusalem, water, refugees and security…
Today, Israel is trying to distract by shifting attention from the core issue — an end to the occupation that began in ’67 and the establishment of a Palestinian state to — incidental issues such as academic conferences and civil aviation matters.
Prince Charming here reiterates the Saudi insistence on a complete Israeli surrender to all Arab demands before the they will move one inch in the direction of peace or any form of normalization (see my post “The Saudi Initiative“).
He clearly rejects the idea — expressed by Secretary Clinton, President Obama, and envoy George Mitchell — that insofar as Israel has made concessions to the Palestinians and is being asked to make more, there should be some reciprocity from the Arab world.
The understanding of the Arab Initiative as a starting point for negotiation rather than a diktat to be imposed on Israel has been a centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s Israel-Arab policy and really the only part of it that appears to take Israeli concerns into account.
Now the Saudis are firmly saying “No” to the US point of view.
But Mrs. Clinton managed yet again to ignore the cognitive dissonance and claim that there is no real disagreement:
QUESTION: Thank you. Judging by what – judging by what we just heard, it seems that the differences between the United States and Saudi Arabia are fundamental on this issue, and it seems to me that the talks between President Obama and King Abdullah and the talks now are not narrowing the divide between the two — two divergent approaches. I mean, you talk about incremental measures, confidence-building measures, and the prince is talking about comprehensive approach in one fell swoop…
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don’t see it that way, and that’s what I just said. There is no substitute for a comprehensive resolution. That is our ultimate objective. In order to get to the negotiating table, we have to persuade both sides that they can trust the other side enough to reach that comprehensive agreement.
We also know that there are a series of issues that have to be resolved. As His Royal Highness said and as I have just repeated, you have to take those issues by issues, but within the negotiation for the comprehensive peace agreement. That’s not a contradiction.
Had I been present, I would have pointed out to His Royal Highness that the US went to war for him in 1991 and was rewarded by having about 3,000 of its people massacred by Saudis ten years later; and I would add that if anyone is going to protect his corrupt, backward, feudal Kingdom from the Iranians, it will be the US — or Israel!
Wouldn’t it be ironic if the only thing preventing Iranian control of the Gulf were the Israeli Air Force?