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Israel should take Prince Turki's offer on Arab Peace Initiative

Prince Turki Al-Faisal Al-Saud spoke in Brussels with retired Gen. Amos Yadlin about the Saudi initiative for ending the conflict, saying, "Israel has nuclear weapons. … The Arabs aren’t crazy. We want to talk peace."

A public meeting between a senior member of the Saudi monarchy and a retired Israeli general is a rare story, as Saudi Arabia does not maintain diplomatic relations with Israel. That is why I waited with great interest for the live online broadcast from Brussels of the May 26 encounter between Prince Turki al-Faisal al-Saud and Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin. Prince Turki has served as the Saudi minister of intelligence and as his country’s ambassador in Washington and London. He now heads the King Faisal Center for Research. Yadlin is the Israel Defense Forces' former director of military intelligence and today heads the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS). The meeting, hosted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, was moderated by senior Washington Post columnist David Ignatius.

More than five years ago, I had an opportunity to closely monitor the positions of Prince Turki regarding the Israeli-Arab conflict. We met at a conference on the Arab League’s peace initiative, initiated by the Oxford Research Group. The conference was also attended by Nabil Fahmy, Egypt’s current foreign minister; Hesham Youssef, then-chef de cabinet of the secretary-general of the Arab League; and, representatives from the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, the United States, Europe and Israel. The message Prince Turki sought to convey this week was essentially no different from what he said in October 2008 at the Oxford conference: The Arab and Muslim world is offering Israel a peace initiative, the seeds of which were planted in Saudi Arabia and sprouted in Beirut on March 28, 2002.

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