'No relations with Israel until return to '67 borders'

Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal says terror "able to find recruits due to Israeli-Palestinian conflict"; "foreign hands manipulating strings in Lebanon."

By JPOST.COM STAFF
November 5, 2010 12:59
2 minute read.
Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal

Turki al-Faisal. (photo credit: AP)

 
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Saudi Arabian Prince Turki al-Faisal spoke about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Iran's influence in Lebanon, the sources of terrorism, and prospects of his own country forming normalized relations with Israel, at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington on Thursday.

Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence minister and ambassador to the US, is considered to be a candidate to succeed his brother, Saud al-Faisal, as Saudi foreign minister, according to a Washington Post report.

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Describing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as "the cause of numerous threats to peace and prosperity" around the globe, Faisal offered his own prescriptions for peace in the region, based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. He said that the key to peace is an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders, which he interpreted UN Security Council Resolution 242 as demanding. Faisal said that, numerous UN resolutions have been passed since 1967, "yet peace peace has remained elusive and the conflict has been enlarged and spread like a cancer across borders."

Discussing Hizbullah and Lebanon, the prince said that the issue of Shaba Farms is allowing Hizbullah to "supplant the role of the legitimate government" and seek its own agenda, all the while, "purporting to stand for Lebanon's beleaguered people and even Islam itself."

Iran's influence with Hizbullah did not escape the prince, pointing out that "foreign hands can clearly be seen manipulating the strings" in Lebanon. He continued to say that "the people of Lebanon paid the price with their lives for foreign-led ambitions in the region."

Faisal compared Hamas to Hizbullah, saying that the organization "learned from the Lebanese model and followed in its footsteps." Describing how both organizations have risen to power by taking advantage of the tragedies inherent in conflict, he asserted that achieving a "lasting peace" would have a "dampening effect on extremism." Making a linkage between the wider war on terror and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the prince claimed that "much of what we call 'terror' is able to find its recruits due to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians."

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The Saudi prince went on to blast continued Israeli settlement building, deferring to the Palestinian position that the issue is central to reaching peace. Promoting the Saudi sponsored Arab Peace Initiative, he renewed the 2002 offer that Saudi Arabia, the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference would "end all forms of hostilities and commence normal and peaceful relations with the State of Israel."

However, he said that Saudi Arabia will continue refusing "to directly or indirectly engage Israel" until it withdraws from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and Shaba Farms, removing any hope of relations between the two countries any time soon.

Prince Faisal concluded by calling for greater involvement by the West, saying it "has the ability to put out the flames of numerous regional fires by extinguish the source of the blaze in the Middle East."

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