Friday, August 3, 2007
From Khalid Amayreh in Occupied East Jerusalem
"Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been pressing the Bush administration and other international and regional players to pressure Saudi leaders to hold a public meeting with Israeli leaders, preferably himself or foreign minister Tzipi Livni.
According to reports in the Hebrew press, Olmert told visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who arrived in Israel last week, that he was interested in establishing “a diplomatic breakthrough” in the form of a meeting between himself and a Saudi official.
Israeli sources, quoted by the Ha’aretz newspaper, said an Israeli-Saudi meeting would show that Israel was making a diplomatic headway, which would boost Olmert’s public standing among Israeli Jews.
Olmert earlier asked two visiting Arab foreign ministers, Ahmed abul Gheit of Egypt and Abdul Ilah al Khatib of Jordan , to press other Arab officials to visit Israel.....
Olmert has been saying that he needs a dramatic event, e.g. a meeting with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, to convince the Israeli public to support “bold diplomatic initiatives,” by Israel, especially with regard to the Palestinian issue.
Olmert told visiting American officials recently that unlike Israel, where the Prime Minister is answerable to the people and has to carefully watch his behavior, Arab leaders could embark on bold steps toward Israel without having to worry about public opinion in their respective arenas......"