08 September '10
Saudi Time by Thomas Friedman
Some eight years ago, in February 2002, I interviewed then-Crown Prince-now-King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at his horse farm outside Riyadh. I shared with him a column I had written -- suggesting that the Arab League put forth a peace plan offering Israel full peace for full withdrawal from the West Bank, Gaza and Arab East Jerusalem for a Palestinian state -- when he feigned surprise and said: "Have you broken into my desk?" The Saudi leader said he was preparing the exact same plan and offered it up -- "full withdrawal from all the occupied territories, in accord with U.N. resolutions, including in Jerusalem, for full normalization of relations." He added: "I wanted to find a way to make clear to the Israeli people that the Arabs don't reject or despise them."
It was an important, visionary move by Abdullah, and his plan was quickly adopted by the Arab League, with some amendments. It has been floating out there in the ether of diplomatic possibilities ever since. But all that it has been doing is floating. It is time to bring it out of the air. King Abdullah should invite Mr. Netanyahu to Riyadh and present it to him personally.
Never mind that Friedman has since criticized Abdullah for not following though with his "peace plan." (Actually it's more of a peace ultimatum or fraud.) But Friedman here, acknowledges "...his plan was quickly adopted by the Arab League, with some amendments..." but doesn't specify what those amendments were. One of them was the last part of this:
Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.
Why's this important and why does Friedman ignore it? Well two years earlier Israel withdrew from Lebanon and was determined by the United Nations to be occupying Lebanon no longer.
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