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Saudi prince blasts US for not ‘curbing’ Israel
By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER
23/10/2010
Prince Abdulaza bin Talal: Gulf countries believe Iranian policy poses threat to regional security, deeply concerned about nuclear intentions.
 
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 than sanctioned.”

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.

“The United 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, Israel.”

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 screens.

“There are live human muppets in Washington here who are run by AIPAC, and unfortunately what they bring is war and suffering,” he said.

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 “genuineness.”

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 with Riyadh.

“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 so.”

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.
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