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In what could be an indication of slowly shifting Saudi attitudes toward Israel, a Saudi representative appeared Thursday night for what may have been the first time on a television panel discussion with an official Israeli spokesperson.
Miri Eisin, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokeswoman, discussed the Saudi Peace initiative and other regional issues from a Tel Aviv studio for nearly an hour on the Al-Hura Arabic-language station with Dr. Zoher Hareji, who was in a studio in Jeddah. They were joined from Ramallah by Nabil Amr, a top aide to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and a US diplomat in Qatar.
"We may have disagreed about everything, but we talked," Eisin said. She identified Hareji as a writer and political analyst who was acting as an official Saudi representative. Eisin spoke in English, which was translated into Arabic, and the other three participants spoke in Arabic.
Al-Hura is a US sponsored Arabic news and entertainment channel beamed throughout the Arab world.
Eisin said the Saudi's willingness to appear on the same program with an official Israeli representative was a "first," and seemed to represent a "certain new approach of the Saudis toward Israel."