WASHINGTON – Two days after the United States unveiled an arms deal with Saudi
Arabia estimated at $60 billion, one of Riyadh’s leading figures blasted the US
for not living up to its commitments in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and
not doing more to rein in Israel.
“It has failed to curb the brutal
Israeli policy of collective punishment, arbitrary arrests and killings,”
charged Prince Turki al- Faisal, former Saudi ambassador to the US and
ex-director of Saudi intelligence.
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He also criticized American officials
for not standing up to Israel, maintaining, “It is these officials who propose
that the Netanyahu government should be rewarded for its intransigence rather
He said that Riyadh and other Arab countries had agreed
to back the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations “under the United
States-negotiated partial colony freeze” – whereby America had pushed Israel to
impose a settlement freeze before talks started.
That freeze expired on
September 26, and Palestinians with the support of the Arab League have been
unwilling to continue talks until the freeze is resumed.
States failed to stick to its assurances, and to add insult to injury, offered
the Netanyahu government more money, arms, protection from UN sanctions and,
shamefully, the stationing of Israeli troops on Palestinian territory as if the
territory were part of American sovereign lands,” Turki said of reported US
proposals to get Israel to renew the freeze.
Speaking to the annual
conference of the National Council for US-Arab Relations, Turki also lambasted
the Israel lobby, saying that “There has grown over the years a web of very
tight and strong strings that bind the US to her client state,
He led off his address, which followed a presentation on how
Sesame Street uses muppets in children’s television across the Middle East to
foster tolerance and respect, by saying that puppets don’t only appear on TV
“There are live human muppets in Washington here who are run by
AIPAC, and unfortunately what they bring is war and suffering,” he
He also noted at the beginning of his remarks that some friends who
had seen his speech suggested he be “princely,” but that he had opted to go with
In a talk dedicated to US-Saudi relations, he did praise
America at times for its pursuit of peace and the good relations it has enjoyed
“Saudi Arabia’s will and determination to continue its
strong and fruitful relations with the United States [comes] not only because it
is America which has shown the capability to bring Israeli craven ambitions to
heel,” he said, “but also because the United States has been a beacon of
goodwill and progress to the rest of humanity and will continue to be
Turki mentioned Iran as part of his appeal for a Middle East free
from nuclear weapons, though he spent more time on Israel’s nuclear program and
his disappointment with the Obama administration for altering aspects of its
nuclear-free policy as a result.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Talal, however,
proceeded Turki at the conference and spoke more directly of Saudi concerns
about Iran’s nuclear efforts.
“The Arab countries of the Gulf are deeply
concerned about Iranian nuclear intentions and their direct threat to regional
security and stability we believe current Iranian policy represents,” he said.