Abdullah's Chance

[New York Times, 23Mar07] Thomas L. Friedman - In recent months, we've seen Saudi Arabia publicly blast Hizbullah for launching an unprovoked war on Israel; we've seen King Abdullah forge a cease-fire between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza; we've seen him try to tame Iran's president; and there are rumors that a top Saudi official met with Israel's prime minister, Ehud Olmert. Saudi Arabia becoming more assertive could have real benefits, provided that the leader of Saudi Arabia is ready to do what the leader of Egypt did when it comes to making peace with Israel. What the moribund Israeli-Palestinian talks need most today is an emotional breakthrough. Another Arab declaration, just reaffirming the Abdullah initiative, won't cut it. If King Abdullah wants to lead - and he has the integrity and credibility to do so - he needs to fly from the Riyadh summit to Jerusalem and deliver the offer personally to the Israeli people. That is what Egypt's Anwar Sadat did when he forged his breakthrough. An Abdullah initiative delivered in this way would also be a vehicle to tell Hamas to put up or shut up. It is one thing for Hamas to reject the Oslo peace accords. But how could it reject a peace overture to Israel presented by Saudi Arabia? If the Saudi king just wants to score some points, he will hold the Arab summit, re-issue the peace plan and go home. If he wants to make history and make peace, he will hold the Arab summit, re-issue the peace plan, and deliver it in person.

2007-03-23 01:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive