Israel plays down Saudi proposal

Israel’s foreign minister played down the viability of a Saudi-sponsored
peace proposal. In an interview published Thursday, Tzipi Livni said she had been hopeful about the proposal for a comprehensive Israeli-Arab
peace that was broached by Saudi Arabia in 2002, at the height of a
Palestinian terrorist campaign. But she added that changes to the formula by
the Arab League had cooled Israel’s interest.

“At first the Saudi initiative was a positive sign,
but when the radicals in Beirut added
things that contravene the two-state solution, then for us it became unacceptable
in its current
formula,” Livni told the Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam. She appeared to be
referring to the Arab League’s insistence that Israel agree to a “right of
return” for Palestinian refugees to land now in Israel.

Asked about the recent
Palestinian Authority power-sharing deal between the governing Hamas terrorist group and more
moderate Fatah faction, Livni echoed Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert’s wait-and-see attitude.

“We expect that any Palestinian government adhere to the three
requirements of the
international community,” she said, referring to Western demands that the
Palestinian Authority recognize Israel, accept past peace deals and renounce terrorism. “We will examine
the government and its
platform, whether it fully adheres to the requirements.”

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