I found this to incredulous.  Saudi Arabia was not involved in peace keeping efforts in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – but suggested that there be a resumption of formal Israeli-Palestinian settlement talks – something it regards as vital to reducing tensions across the Mideast.  Saudi Arabia does not even recognize Israel as a state and has boycotted Israel.  So what it is in it for them to all of a sudden suggest that talks resume between Palestine and Israel?

Via Centredaily.com:

Rival Palestinian leaders signed an agreement on a power-sharing government Thursday in Saudi-brokered talks in Mecca, with the militant Hamas group promising to “respect” peace deals with Israel. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, of the mainstream Fatah movement, and Khaled Mashaal, leader of Hamas, signed the accord at a ceremony hosted by Saudi King Abdullah in a palace overlooking the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine.

The deal, reached on the second day of the marathon talks, sets out the principles of the coalition government, including a promise that it will “respect” previous peace deals with Israel, delegates said. It also divides up Cabinet posts in the new government.

Announcing the agreement at the ceremony, Abbas aide Nabil Amr read a letter in which Abbas designated Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas to draw up the new government within five weeks according to the formula agreed on in the talks.

Abbas said the deal would “satisfy our people … and bring us to the shores of peace. … This initiative has been crowned with success.”

Mashaal said the accord “will unify our ranks. There is a commitment and unity. We will preserve this partnership.”

Before the ceremony, a Hamas delegate said the deal set the outlines of the new government’s political platform, including a provision by which the factions – including Hamas – would “respect” previous peace deals between the Palestinians and Israel. The delegate spoke on condition of anonymity because he was giving out information before the formal announcement.

They will also be based on a document drawn up last summer by Hamas and Fatah activists in Israeli prisons. That document calls for a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the areas Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast War.

In drawing up the new government, Hamas is to propose an independent candidate to hold the crucial post of interior minister, who would control the Palestinian security forces. Abbas would then approve the candidate. The Interior Ministry post was one of the main obstacles to the deal, with each side reluctant to see it in the hands of the other.

The delegations from Hamas and the moderate Fatah faction talked until 3 a.m. Thursday and resumed at midmorning.

The Saudis, who did not participate in the talks, have invested considerable effort in convening the negotiations. The kingdom seeks both an end to the bloodshed in the Palestinian streets and the resumption of formal Israeli-Palestinian settlement talks – something it regards as vital to reducing tensions across the Mideast. (emphasis mine)

Now all of a sudden the “kingdom” is concerned about the bloodshed in Palestinian streets?  I doubt that seriously.  The Saudis in the past have proven themselves valueless in negotiations choosing not to participate.  Yet they did not participate in these talks and expect their suggestions to be heeded.  If this were not true it would be laughable. 

Crossposted from The HILL Chronicles

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