Reaching out to the Arab world isn’t working out very well for President Obama, Just before the weekend The Saudi government dealt a blow to his misguided peace plan:
Saudi Arabia on Friday sharply rejected American calls for gestures toward Israel, a central component of US efforts to pave the way for peace talks.
“Incrementalism and a step-by-step approach has not and – we believe – will not achieve peace. Temporary security, confidence-building measures will also not bring peace,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said at a State Department press conference.
“What is required is a comprehensive approach that defines the final outcome at the outset and launches into negotiations over final status issues: borders, Jerusalem, water, refugees and security.”
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Today the most moderate of Arab states, Jordan gave Obama the same answer as Saudi Arabia:
Jordan on Monday joined Saudi Arabia in publicly rejecting US appeals to improve relations with Israel to help restart Middle East peace talks, throwing a damper on President Barack Obama’s administration’s push for Arab support behind new negotiations.
After talks with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said incremental confidence-building measures that the US wants Arab states to take will not produce a resolution to the conflict.
As Clinton looked on, Judeh said only a focus on the final settlement would work.
“In the Middle East, there has been in the past an overinvestment, perhaps, by the parties in pursuing confidence-building measures, conflict-management techniques, including transitional arrangements, and an overemphasis on gestures, perhaps at the expense of reaching the actual end game,” he said at a State Department news conference with Clinton.
Judeh said that “piecemeal approaches that never lead to peace and that have proven repeatedly to be confidence-eroding, rather than confidence-building” must be avoided.
And, he criticized Israel for its refusal to halt construction of Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory and said the Israelis should respond to a 2002 Arab peace offer.
“Now, in 2009, many would say it is time for Israel to reciprocate,” he said.
Judeh’s comments marked the second time in three days that an Arab foreign minister bluntly refused US calls to improve ties with Israel with confidence-building measures such as opening trade offices, allowing academic exchanges and permitting civilian Israeli aircraft to overfly their airspace as a way of demonstrating their commitment to peace.
On Friday, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal expressed similar sentiments, also at a news conference with Clinton. Unlike Jordan, though, which has signed a peace deal with Israel, Saudi Arabia does not recognize the Israel.
Despite the statements, Clinton maintained that US special Mideast Peace envoy George Mitchell was making progress and praised Jordan for its playing “a strong and vital role” in the region and expressed hope that negotiations could soon resume.
“We are working with the Israelis, the Palestinian Authority and Arab states to take the steps needed to make that possible,” she said. “The foreign minister and I discussed this effort, and I expressed our deep appreciation for Jordan’s leadership in working with other Arab states to support peace with deeds, as well as words.”
The truth that Obama does not understand is that the supposedly moderate Arab states do not have the Guts to make peace and the Palestinians have no intention of making peace. His outreach to the Arab states will result in nothing but further alienation of Israel, which in the end might be his real intention.