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 Rice coming to feel out Saudi suicide plan?

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The Sameer

Number of posts : 125
Registration date : 2007-03-07

PostSubject: Rice coming to feel out Saudi suicide plan?   Sat Mar 17, 2007 6:41 am


United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday she will be returning to the Middle East next week, less than a month after leaving empty-handed having failed to kick-start the diplomatic process purportedly aimed at ending the “Palestinian”-Israeli conflict.

The American announced her new plans during a joint press conference with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

Rice appears to have been encouraged by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s recent statement to his cabinet that the Saudi plan contains positive aspects Jerusalem is willing to explore.

Olmert further invited more American pressure by declaring his openness to participating in a regional conference in which other Arab states could take part.

Finding out just how far the Israeli government is willing to go with the Saudi initiative while trying to gauge the “sincerity” of regional Arab leaders to talk peace with the Jews, is expected to be the focal point of Rice’s trip.

Israel’s former ambassador to the US, Zalman Shoval Wednesday described the Saudi-spawned plan as “suicidal” for his country.

Shoval noted that the demands on Israel are actually presented as preconditions for peace, effectively making the initiative a "recipe for the destruction of Israel" that is not up for negotiation.

Among other things, it calls for Israel to accept the demand to fully withdraw to the 1949 armistice lines; for the “return” of millions of Arab “refugees” to the then-truncated Jewish state, and for Israel’s acquiescence to the establishment of “Palestine” in Gaza, Samaria and Judea, with “East” Jerusalem (which includes the Old City and the Temple Mount) as its capital.

In exchange, the Arab states will “agree” to recognize what will be left of Israel, “normalize” relations with it, and “permit” its continued existence at their pleasure.

After Olmert said that the plan has “some” positive aspects, the Arab side moved quickly to insist that no changes would be made to the parts Israel finds unacceptable before Arab leaders convene for a summit in Riyadh later this month.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Israel is expected to accept the initiative as is and thereby promote the peace process, according to a Thursday morning report in Ha’aretz.
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