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Getting the former spy chiefs of Israel and Saudi Arabia to talk together about peace is hardly a breakthrough, but it at least helps keep alive the idea of an eventual Israeli-Palestinian settlement.There aren't records kept of such things, but this appeared to be among the highest-level public conversations ever between senior members of the Israeli and Saudi establishments. It came about because Turki asked in Munich four months ago for an Israeli response to Saudi King Abdullah's Arab Peace Initiative. Yadlin said he wanted to deliver a public answer, and when I asked Turki to join the dialogue, he agreed.I wish real peace talks were as easy as these back-channel discussions. The two agreed that Abdullah's peace initiative should be seen as a framework for discussions, rather than a diktat to the Israelis, and that issues such as borders, the status of refugees and Jerusalem must be negotiated.Yadlin feels so strongly that Israel needs a settlement that he proposed a "Plan B" if other options fail.
Mattis and Tillerson,
secretaries of stabilization
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