Arabian Delusions

[Washington Times] Zalman Shoval - Saudi Arabia and the other pro-Western, mostly Sunni, Arab states do indeed have concerns with regard to the strategic and geopolitical designs of Iran, but Tehran does not threaten to eradicate the Arab states as it threatens Israel. Yet the focus of the Arab leaders is not on peace with Israel - or even the plight of the Palestinians - but on trying to use the Israeli-Palestinian card to gain support against Iran from within their own people. The Arab plan is not about negotiations at all, but about forcing Israel to pay in advance for the privilege of conducting sham negotiations. The Arab summit at Riyadh said: First we command Israel to accept our conditions, withdraw to the June 4, 1967, lines, and hand over the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee to Syria and eastern Jerusalem to the future Palestinian state as its capital, and only then shall we negotiate with you. There's already a formula for such negotiations, UN Security Council Resolution 242 which includes both the aspects of territorial withdrawals and Israel's security needs. So does the letter written by President Bush to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2004. In this spirit, peace could indeed be achieved. Unfortunately, the Arab world chose to continue its traditional and unrealistic intransigence. Peace between the wider Arab world and the Jewish state is not impossible. A general Arab-Israeli detente, including steps that would benefit everyone in the region, would create the climate for eventually moving the Palestinian problem toward an equitable solution based on mutual compromise. Israel under all its leaders has been ready to compromise. If only the Arabs, including the Palestinians, would abandon all-or-nothing delusions.

2007-05-04 01:00:00

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