The former head of Military Intelligence, Major General (res.) Amos Yadlin, and Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, director of the General Intelligence of Saudi Arabia from 1979 to 2001, took part Monday in a rare one-on-one panel in an international conference hosted by the German Marshall Fund, and discussed the Iranian nuclear program, the Israeli/Palestinian-Arab conflict and other burning regional issues.
The very holding of the one-on-one panel, hosted by the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, can be seen as a sign that the Iranian crisis and the perceived American abandonment of the interests of its allies in the region is indeed – as some analysts say – pushing Israel and Saudi Arabia much closer together than anyone could have dreamed just a few years ago.
Al Saud, the youngest son of the late King Faisal, urged that Israel sign on to the Saudi initiative, also known as the Arab Peace Initiative, and join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in order to turn the Middle East into a nuclear-free zone.
Yadlin replied by saying that things were not so simple. “The real problem is that the Saudi initiative became the Arab League dictate in a summit in Beirut in 2002,” he said. “The Saudis modified it into a take-it-or-leave-it offer with parameters we can’t accept, mostly in the issue of returning the Golan to Syrians.”
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