Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz has given a bleak assessment of prospects for a return to calm in the region after Israel's use of deadly force against the Palestinians, newspapers reported Thursday.
"People say there is hope of a détente, but I doubt it," the crown prince told a group of Arab intellectuals in Riyadh.
"The Arab people are shocked by the current behavior of Israel," said Prince Abdullah, warning that "the Arabs will no longer believe their (Israeli) leaders if the peace negotiations resume."
Since the US-brokered initiative was launched in 1991, Arab countries have tried "to eradicate the feelings of hatred" toward Israel, he said.
"We have wanted to cohabit with them, but while making sure their hegemony is not imposed on us. They humiliate us, and humiliation is difficult, very difficult" to accept, Prince Abdullah said in his tough-hitting speech late Wednesday.
The crown prince, although his country is a strong ally of Washington, also took aim at the United States and Europe for the violence in which more than 260 people have been killed, mostly Palestinians shot dead by Israeli gunfire.
He condemned Israel's use of "tanks and aircraft ... against children resisting with stones".
"We know who is helping them and who is giving them support in the United States and Europe. Everybody is helping them. But such help will not last forever even if it goes on for 10, 20, 50 years, or even a century," said Prince Abdullah.
"The Arabs surround them (Israel) from all sides, and thanks to God they are growing stronger," he said.
The Saudi crown prince, who has in effect been running the oil-rich state due to the ill health of King Fahd, focused on the "sacred" issue of Arab east Jerusalem, which Israel has occupied since 1967.
"Al-Quds (Jerusalem) is the most important issue for us. Even if we have to sacrifice our children ... we will never surrender, never," he vowed.
The holy city of Jerusalem is "firstly a matter of Muslim dignity, then of the Arabs and finally of the other religions, expect that of the looting Jews," Prince Abdullah said.
"They should be ashamed because they have no intention to make concessions.
"They lack humanism, morals and principles. Their aim is to humiliate the Arab-Islamic world, including Muslims and Christians. But, by the grace of God, they will be defeated." – RIYADH (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)