Saudi King 'Enthusiastically Supports' Israeli-Palestinian Peace Efforts

Kerry Briefed King Abdullah and King of Jordan on Peace Progress

getty images

By Reuters

Published January 05, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Saudi King Abdullah offered his “enthusiastic support” to U.S. efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday.

The U.S. diplomat made the comment after some two hours and 40 minutes of talks with the Arab monarch, who in 2002 floated a plan to try to bring peace to the Israelis and Palestinians.

During that meeting, as well as one with the king of Jordan earlier in the day in Amman, Kerry briefed the Arab leader on his three days of talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

“I want to thank his majesty for … his enthusiastic support for the efforts that are being made with respect to the peace process,” he told reporters after seeing Abdullah at a desert palace outside Riyadh under a winter rainfall.

“Today, his majesty was not just encouraging but supported our efforts in hopes that we can be successful in the days ahead,” Kerry added, saying the Saudi ruler believed a peace deal could bring “great benefits” throughout the Middle East.

On his 10th peace-making trip to the region during the last year, Kerry had tried to establish what U.S. officials call a “framework” for guidelines for any eventual peace accord.

The U.S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian talks resumed in July after a three-year halt, with Kerry pushing for an accord within nine months despite scepticism on both sides.

Kerry has previously asked Israel to reconsider the 2002 Arab peace plan, originally proposed by King Abdullah, which offers Israel full recognition in return for giving up land it captured in 1967 and a “just” solution for Palestinian refugees.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal also emerged from the desert talks upbeat, calling the rainfall a “great” omen and describing the meeting as “excellent.”

“There is really no meeting that could have been smoother and more productive than this meeting,” Saud al-Faisal told reporters while seated beside Kerry in an airport reception room.

“It’s a meeting that … belies any bad vibes about relations that were expressed in many of the media lately,” he added, referring to widespread reports of U.S.-Saudi strains over U.S. policy toward Iran, Syria and Egypt.

The foreign minister did not specifically echo Kerry’s comments about Saudi support for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process but he said an agreement that meets the Palestinians’ aspirations “will receive the full support of Saudi Arabia”.

PIECES OF THE PUZZLE

Broad Arab support is viewed as crucial if the Palestinians are to make the compromises likely to prove necessary to strike a deal with Israel. Both parties to the conflict, however, have voiced doubts about the peace process in recent days.

Palestinians see a major obstacle in Israel’s settlements. Many Israelis question the credibility of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, especially as Gaza is run by his rivals - Hamas Islamists who oppose peacemaking.

Speaking earlier to reporters in Jerusalem, Kerry suggested that the Israelis and Palestinians were making some progress in peace talks, though there was still a chance no accord would be reached.

At a morning news conference, Kerry said both sides had a sharper idea of the compromises needed to secure an agreement despite their deep scepticism on the chances of success.

“This has been a productive couple of days,” Kerry told reporters after three days of separate talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and with Abbas. “We have had very positive - but I have to say very serious, very intensive - conversations.”

Kerry said all of the major issues in the conflict - borders, security, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem - were under discussion.

“The path is becoming clearer. The puzzle is becoming more defined. And it is becoming much more apparent to everybody what the remaining tough choices are,” he said. “But I cannot tell you when, particularly, the last pieces may decide to fall into place or may fall on the floor and leave the puzzle unfinished.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.