The Saudi gambit

Choices in the Middle East
Whatever the motives behind it, the land-for-peace initiative floated by Saudi Arabia strikes a note of reason in the ever-escalating violence of the Middle East. Since September 2000 over 1,074 Palestinians and 375 Jews have been killed in rounds of provocation and counterprovocation. Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah proposes that if Israel agrees to allow a viable homeland for Palestinians based on, but not strictly dictated by, Israel’s pre-1967 borders, Israel will gain something it has desired since 1948—normalized relations with the Arab world.

The various parties’ response to the plan will reveal whether they are truly interested in reaching a bargained settlement or whether they prefer a predictable war to an inconvenient peace.


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