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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Abdullah has promised to normalise relations with Israel should Israel sign a peace agreement.

For Israel, normalised relations with it’s Arab neighbours has long been a key goal in establishing peace and crucial to their own security. But Ariel Sharon has so far not made much in the way of response to this overture by Saudi Arabia.

But Mr. Sharon and his government have given no indication that they have any such intention. If this lack of interest is confirmed in the coming days, it will prove what should have been evident all along — that the Sharon government seeks pretexts to avoid a political process, not ways to renew it. The targeted assassinations and reprisals, including the destruction of Palestinian homes in refugee camps, during the three-week period in which Yasir Arafat succeeded in lowering the violence dramatically, seemed clearly intended to provoke retaliations from Hamas and Islamic Jihad in order to avoid being cornered into political negotiations. Mr. Sharon’s refusal to take any notice of the new Saudi position should finally bring home to President Bush and his advisers that Mr. Sharon’s insistence that there be no negotiations until all Palestinian violence ceases can only be an excuse to hold onto the West Bank and Gaza

What remains to be seen is how the US will react to this. So far, the US seems content to let Israel do what they will, save assassinate Arafat, which is most troubling. Hopefully, someone will see this S.A. offer as a reason to push Israel to stop their military action against Palestine, and push Palestine to continue to reduce their own military attacks on Israel.