Before his meeting today with Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expressed support for a regional summit on the Saudi peace plan
. This plan, you may recall, offers peace between Israel and the Arab states in exchange for Israel pulling back to the 1967 lines and a settlement on the issue of refugees, both from 1948 and 1967. Part of what has always interested me about this initiative is that it cuts the Palestinians out of the equation. In 2002, I thought Saudi Arabia might be moving to sideline the increasingly Iran-influenced Palestinian government under Yasser Arafat. Something similar could be in play now given the regional tensions surrounding Iran's rise in the post-Saddam Middle East and its nuclear program. This also dovetails with what I said this morning at American Footprints about Olmert preferring to deal with the Palestinian question rather than the Golan Heights
, though Golan is part of the territory from which the Arabs seek withdrawal.
(Crossposted to American Footprints