[At a time when the media continues to publicize the “peace” initiative of the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, the Crown Prince continues to make it clear that the unlateral withdrawal of Israel to the 1949-1967 armistice lines and the “right of return” for all Arab refugees to be allowed to return to their non-existant homes from 1948 remain the preconditions for the Saudi Arabian plan to suceed. How many people know this?? d.b.]

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Abdullah said in an interview published Saturday that Israel must withdraw from all Arab territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, including East Jerusalem, as the price for real peace with the Arab world. Abdullah, speaking to Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, added that Israel would have to be open to discussion on the rights of return for Palestinian refugees.

The prince, who held talks with Bush on the Middle East crisis last month, said that Arabs would not accept a partial Israeli pullout and Israel had to return all Arab land.

“A withdrawal is not enough, there must be a return to the pre-1967 aggression lines and an end to the occupation of Jerusalem so that it becomes the capital of Palestine,” said Prince Abdullah, the architect of a Middle East peace initiative that won Arab and international backing.

“The return of refugees is also a must,” he told the London-based paper.

The de facto ruler of the oil superpower praised Bush for supporting the long-standing Arab demand for the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

“I must say that President Bush has played an active role… by insisting on the necessity of the creation of a Palestinian state at a time the Israeli forces tried to annul the Palestinian Authority,” the paper quoted him as saying.

Prince Abdullah said it was “too early” for the kingdom to say whether it would take part in possible peace negotiations with Israel. “Our priority is to lift the suffering of our brothers in Palestine, and we will do our utmost to restore Arab rights.” This piece ran in Ha’aretz on May 12, 2002