The Saudi peace initiative first saw light some 13 years ago, and apparently there are still many key figures in the Arab world who would like to see it revived. “Now that Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu has formed his new government, I call on him to say yes to the Saudi peace initiative. It’s alive and well and didn’t disappear with the regime change in Saudi Arabia,” says Dr. Anwar Eshki, the director of the Jeddah-based Middle East Institute for Strategic Studies.

“King Salman and his senior advisers support it. It’s time for Israel to accept it too. There is no alternative peace plan.” A former military general who has also filled various key roles in the Riyadh administration in the past, Eshki, 72, is believed to have very close ties with the Saudi royal family; and he had no qualms about giving an interview to an Israeli newspaper, noting: “The issue is an important one, and we need to convey the message to Netanyahu, the cabinet ministers and the Israeli public that there is a peace plan awaiting their approval.”

Eshki gave an exclusive interview to Ynet’s sister publication, Yedioth Ahronoth, in Qatar, where he was attending the Doha Forum’s economic conference over the weekend. “If Israel accepts the peace plan and makes a commitment to implement it, 22 Arab states and another 20 Muslim counties will commit to normalizing relations with you,” Eshki says. “You need to internalize the fact that we want coexistence between the Arab states and Israel.” FULL REPORT