Saudi Royal, Ex-Mossad Spymaster to Discuss Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud bin al-Faisal drinks water during a joint press conference with his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra (unseen) following their meeting in Riyadh, on April 15, 2014.
FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty

NEW YORK – A Saudi prince and a former Israeli spy chief will be discussing solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict later this month in New York as part of a series of unconventional meetups in cities all over the U.S., the Times of Israel reported.  

The Israel Policy Forum, a dovish organization that endorses the idea of two states for two peoples, will be hosting five confabs in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington DC later this month with a  “special emphasis” on finding a way to achieve the two-state solution that would ensure Israel’s security needs are addressed, the report said.

IPF will be bringing together Israeli, Palestinian and Arab officials including Efraim Halevy, former director of the Mossad; Prince Turki bin Faisal al-Saud, a former chief of Saudi intelligence and ambassador to the United States and the United Kingdom; and Michèle Flournoy, former US undersecretary of defense for policy. Retired U.S. Marines Corps General John Allen; Nimrod Novice, a former foreign policy adviser to the late elder statesman Shimon Peres; and Rolly Gueron, a former division chief in the Mossad, will also take part in panels.

According to IPF Executive Director David Halperin, Al-Faisal and Halevy will hold a discussion that will provide a “chance to discuss the growing shared interests between Israel and the Arab world.”

Halperin said the confabs are the result of a two-year partnership IPF has forged with the Commanders for Israel’s Security, a group of former Israeli security officials, and the Center for New American Security, a progressive D.C.-based think tank.

Most of the proposals they have introduced for Israel’s security under the two-state vision are based on plans authored by General Allen at the behest of then-president Barack Obama in collaboration with Israeli security officials.

In addition to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the confabs will also address the Iran deal, Syria, Islamic State and the burgeoning relations between Israel and the Arab world.

President Donald Trump’s ongoing efforts toward a peace deal with Israel and the Palestinians will certainly be addressed. The president’s reticence to publicly express support for the largely failed two-state solution will also be discussed, Halperin said, adding that this “dramatic shift” in American policy cannot be ignored.

“There will definitely be discussion on where the United States can go from here and how the U.S. silence on the two-state question will impact our core mission going forward,” he said. “That’s a question that will be discussed and one we need to grapple with.”

That was not out of sync with a message Trump has himself conveyed. In February, Trump said at a press briefing with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “I’m looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like.” In August, the  State Department’s spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that committing to that position would be “biased.”

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