A Tall Order for Saudi Arabia?

[Commentary] Michael J. Totten - The New York Times inadvertently highlights how much more intransigent than Israel most Arab states are. President Obama went to Saudi Arabia where he presented a wish-list from the U.S. and Israeli governments for a few symbolic tourist visas, meetings between Saudi officials and their Israeli counterparts, and the opening of a Saudi interests office in Tel Aviv. "These would be a tall order for the Arab kingdom," the Times says. Good grief. The Obama administration expects Israelis to stop building houses in Jewish neighborhoods in suburban Jerusalem that they never intend to abandon, yet the Saudis won't even talk to Israelis or let a few Jews visit the beach. Israel isn't a threat to Saudi Arabia. The idea that Saudi Arabia "can't" have diplomatic relations with Israel until the Palestinian question is resolved has become mainstream, even axiomatic, but it's nonsense. Egypt and Jordan are Arabic countries, yet they both signed peace treaties years ago. There is no iron law of geopolitics that requires Saudi Arabia to remain in a state of cold war with Israel. The only reason the Saudis don't have normal relations with Israel is because they prefer hostile relations. Israelis will not have peace until Palestinians pitch their pig-headed rejectionism over the side. Arabs, including the Saudis, can opt out of that ridiculous conflict whenever they feel like it.

2009-06-12 06:00:00

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