Saudi FM slams Israel 'unpunished over war crimes'

Saudi FM urged countries to adopt a firm and serious stance to put an end to the policy of settlements in occupied Palestinian territories and in Jerusalem.

Saudi FM slams Israel 'unpunished over war crimes'

Saudi Arabia said on Saturday said Israel was the world's "spoilt child" and got away with what Riyadh said were violations of international law and war crimes without punishment.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal also urged countries to adopt a firm and serious stance to put an end to the policy of settlements in occupied Palestinian territories and in Jerusalem.

"Not reaching solutions is the special treatment Israel gets," he said at a news conference with visiting Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu.

The Saudi foreign minister said the international community needed to get tougher with Israel.

"The reason why a solution cannot be reached is the preferential treatment that Israel gets," he said. "When other countries violate international law, they get punished, except for Israel. If war crimes are committed, other countries get punished, except Israel.

"Israel has become in the international community like a spoiled child," he said. "It does what it wants without being questioned or punished."

The two foreign ministers called for Israel to end all settlement expansions to enable peace talks to move ahead.

"There should be a freeze on the settlements in all the occupied territories and especially east Jerusalem," Davutoglu said.

Prince Saud said the policy of expanding settlements was a source of deep concern and condemnation for both us and the international community.

"This policy casts doubts on the seriousness of (Israel's) commitment to the peace process," Prince Saud said.

The Saudi foreign minister said solutions to the most difficult issues — including final borders, Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees — should be presented for negotiation. If the parties fail to reach a settlement, then the International Court of Justice should get involved, he said.

Saud said Israel will be the first country to be threatened from the instability that will result if there is no Mideast peace.

Israel even announced on Monday plans to build nearly 700 new buildings in areas of the occupied West Bank.

The Saudi-Turkish discussions on the Palestinian problem came four days after Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Saudi King Abdullah held talks on the same issue, and ahead of an expected trip to the region by US Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell.

However, months of Mitchell's shuttling between the sides failed in 2009.

Recently, US again bowed to Israel's refusal to stop settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank while President Barack Obama himself called only for "restraint" in settlement, not the "freeze" he had previously demanded, a retreat from his policy.

The World Court has ruled all settlements illegal under international law. Palestinians, who want their own state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, see the settlements as a land grab as an occupier "state".

Davutoglu was expected to meet Saudi King Abdullah on Sunday, the last of a three-day trip.


Agencies


Last Mod: 03 Ocak 2010, 11:40
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