Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah ready to make peace with the Israeli Jews

  • From: "Muslim News" <editor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2002 09:31:45 -0000

Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and
Commander of the National Guard, revealed that he had intended to
deliver a speech before the next Arab Summit in which he would call for
a full normalisation of relations between the Arab states and Israel if
it carried out a full withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories
according to the United Nations resolutions including Al Quds. 

Thomas Friedman, an American columnist at New York Times has stated in
his article which was quoted by ''Asharq Al-Awsat" that the Crown Prince
told him: "My thinking was to deliver it before the Arab summit and try
to mobilize the entire Arab world behind it. The speech is written, and
it is in my desk. But I changed my mind about delivering it when Sharon
took the violence, and the oppression, to an unprecedented level.'' 

The following is the full text of Thomas Friedman's article: 

Earlier this week, I wrote a column suggesting that the 22 members of
the Arab League, at their summit in Beirut on March 27 and 28, make a
simple, clear-cut proposal to Israel to break the Israeli-Palestinian
impasse: In return for a total withdrawal by Israel to the June 4, 1967,
lines, and the establishment of a Palestinian state, the 22 members of
the Arab League would offer Israel full diplomatic relations, normalized
trade and security guarantees. 

Full withdrawal, in accord with UN Resolution 242, for full peace
between Israel and the entire Arab world. Why not? 

I am currently in Saudi Arabia on a visit - part of the Saudi opening to
try to explain themselves better to the world in light of the fact that
15 Saudis were involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. So I took the
opportunity of a dinner with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn
Abdul Aziz Al Saud, to try out the idea of this Arab League proposal. I
knew that Jordan, Morocco and some key Arab League officials had been
talking about this idea in private but had not dared to broach it
publicly until one of the big parties - Saudi Arabia or Egypt - took the
lead. 

After I laid out this idea, the Crown Prince looked at me with
astonishment and said, "Have you broken into my desk?" 

No, I said, wondering what he was talking about. 

"The reason I ask is that this is exactly the idea I had in mind - full
withdrawal from all the occupied territories, in accord with UN
resolutions, including Al Quds, for full normalization of relations,"
Crown Prince Abdullah said. 

"I have drafted a speech along those lines. My thinking was to deliver
it before the Arab summit and try to mobilize the entire Arab world
behind it. The speech is written, and it is in my desk. But I changed my
mind about delivering it when Sharon took the violence, and the
oppression, to an unprecedented level,'' the Crown Prince added. 

"But I tell you," he said, "if I were to pick up the phone now and ask
someone to read you the speech, you will find it virtually identical to
what you are talking about. I wanted to find a way to make clear to the
Israeli people that the Arabs don't reject or despise them. But the Arab
people do reject what their leadership is now doing to the Palestinians,
which is inhumane and oppressive. And I thought of this as a possible
signal to the Israeli people." 

Well, I said, I'm glad to know that Saudi Arabia was thinking along
these lines, but so many times in the past we've heard from Arab leaders
that they had just been about to do this or that but that Ariel Sharon
or some other Israeli leaders had got in the way. After a while, it's
hard to take seriously. So I asked, What if Mr. Sharon and the
Palestinians agreed to a cease-fire before the Arab summit? 

"Let me say to you that the speech is written, and it is still in my
drawer," the Crown Prince said. 

I pass all of this on as straight forwardly as I can, without hype or
unrealistic hopes. What was intriguing to me about the Crown Prince's
remarks was not just his ideas _ which, if delivered, would be quite an
advance on anything the Arab League has proposed before - but the fact
that they came up in the middle of a long, off-the-record conversation.
I suggested to the Crown Prince that if he felt so strongly about this
idea, even in a draft form, why not put it on the record - only then
would anyone take it seriously. 

He said he would think about it. 

The next day his office called, reviewed the Crown Prince's quotations
and said: "Go ahead, put them on the record." So here they are. 

Crown Prince Abdullah is known as a staunch Arab nationalist. He has a
strong Arab following inside and outside the Kingdom, and if he ever
gave such a speech, it would have a real impact on Arab and Israeli
public opinions. Crown Prince Abdullah seemed to be signaling that if
President Bush took a new initiative for Middle East peace, he and other
Arab leaders would be prepared to do so as well. 

I also used the interview with the Saudi leader to ask why his country
had never really apologised to America for the fact that 15 Saudis were
involved in 11 September? 

"We have been close friends for so long, and we never expected Americans
to doubt us," the Crown Prince said. "We saw this attack by Bin Laden
and his men as an attack on us, too, and an attempt to damage the
US-Saudi relationship. We were deeply saddened by it and we never
expected it to lead to tensions between us. But we've now learned to
respond to events differently. . . . It is never too late to express our
regrets," the Crown Prince added. 

As for the "axis of evil" and reports of a possible US military strike
against Iraq, the Saudi leader said: "Any attack on Iraq or Iran should
not be contemplated at all because it would not serve the interests of
America, the region or the world, as there is no current evidence. Iraq
is contemplating the return of the inspectors, and the US should pursue
this because inspectors can determine if Iraq is complying with the UN
resolutions." 
 
Source:  Ain Al-Yaqeen 

============================================================
You can choose whether you prefer to receive regular emails or a weekly digest 
by visiting http://www.muslim-news.net

Archive: http://archive.muslim-news.net

You can subscribe by sending an email to request@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word 
"subscribe" (without quotes) in the subject line, or by visiting 
http://www.muslim-news.net

You can unsubscribe by sending an email to request@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with the 
word "unsubscribe" (without quotes) in the subject line, or by visiting 
http://www.muslim-news.net

You are welcome to submit any relevant news story to submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

For regular Islamic cultural articles by email, send email to 
revivalist-subscribe@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
============================================================

Other related posts:

  • » Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah ready to make peace with the Israeli Jews