Why Did Yair Lapid Meet a Saudi Prince in New York?

Yesh Atid chairman MK Yair Lapid met on Wednesday with Saudi prince Turki Al Faisal in New York, where the discussed advancing a regional "peace plan" by which Israel would withdraw from its Biblical heartland.

Al Faisal served as the Saudi intelligence chief from 1977 to 2001, and later was the Saudi ambassador to the US and UK.

Lapid's meeting with the influential official comes after the Saudis read Lapid's speech earlier this month, in which he announced his support for the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, also known as the Saudi Initiative.

The two are to focus their meeting on Lapid's call for the establishment of a regional summit to try and advance a regional peace agreement based on the initiative, of which former President Shimon Peres was a staunch advocate.

According to the Saudi Initaitive, Israel would withdraw from eastern Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and likewise give way to an Arab state in Gaza. In response, Arab states in the region would give their promise not to attack Israel and to normalize ties – a promise many warn cannot be trusted.

Lapid, who is eager to present himself as "centrist," was to present his peace plan based on the initiative during the meeting.

In his speech about the initiative, Lapid said, "my father did not come here from the ghetto to live in a binational state. He came here to live in the land of the Jews. If we do not separate from the Palestinians, Israel's Jewishness is in danger."

"A regional summit as the opening salvo for a comprehensive regional agreement is the most effective tactical and political tool to start the process,” Lapid said. “The summit needs to be based on a joint statement confirming that it will lead to a regional agreement."

In response, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) noted that the Saudi initiative, "also includes the right of return (for Palestinian Arabs). Not sure if this a good start to the 'regional conference' Lapid hung all his hopes on."

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/201251

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