The Saudi "Peace" Plan Ultimatum

[Washington Times] Editorial - During her visit to the Middle East this week, Secretary of State Rice has been touting a peace plan advocated by Saudi Arabia as the basis for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations - even though it has serious flaws that have raised well-founded concerns from the Israeli government. Parts of the Saudi plan, particularly provisions demanding that Israel yield all of the West Bank territory it captured in a defensive war and return to its precarious pre-1967 borders; requiring that it yield the Golan Heights to a Syrian Ba'athist regime that is aligned with Iran; and leaving open the possibility that Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war and their descendants might be permitted to return to their former homesteads inside what is now Israel, are unacceptable. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert quite sensibly has asked that these provisions at a minimum be significantly modified. The U.S. government has invested considerable political time and effort over the years in trying to advance the cause of peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors. But in the real world, advancing any plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace today would appear to face tremendous if not insurmountable obstacles - so much so that it is difficult to understand why Rice has seen fit to spend so much political capital in wartime on a diplomatic initiative with so little likelihood of success. If the Saudis want to be taken seriously as peacemakers, they need to stop issuing ultimatums to Israel and start issuing them to the Palestinian irredentists they continue to lavish money on.

2007-03-29 01:00:00

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