The Saudis have finally spoken up, addressing the problems between our two countries.

Saudi Prince Abdullah effectively spoke for the king and his nation when he said that Saudi Arabia is still America's friend. Well, that's a relief… isn't it?

But he also said that America is wrong to be ignoring the plight of the Palestinians. I guess we should address this.

Are Americans happy to see Palestinians targeted by the Israelis? No. Do Americans think this is a good thing? No. Do Americans wish the Palestinians had a stable, peaceful state next to a stable, peaceful state of Israel? Sure. Do Americans wish the Palestinians had an economy that took care of its own people? Sure. Do Americans wish the people in that region would concentrate more on making money and improving life instead of making war and killing each other? Sure.

So why is President Bush ignoring Yasser Arafat and letting Ariel Sharon beat the hell out of him?

Because President Clinton stuck his neck out for Arafat, and he's had his head handed to him for the trouble. Do you think Bush wants to repeat Clinton's experience?

Clinton got the Israelis to agree to concessions no Israeli government had ever considered. It would not have been perfect for either side, but it would have given the Palestinians a country, borders, a capital in Jerusalem, and a chance to improve itself.

Instead, the Palestinians decided to send their teenagers out to blow themselves up… thinking Israel would give them more, like territory joining the West Bank and Gaza.

Bang. Barak was out, Sharon was in, and the Palestinians' choice proved to be a bad one.

Now, the Saudis are mad because the Palestinians are worse off than they were when Clinton cut that deal? Did the Saudis tell the Palestinians to take the deal? My guess is they did not.

So who is at fault here? How can it be the U.S.? How can it be Bush's fault? This is Arafat's fault, the Saudis' fault, the Egyptians' fault, the Syrians' fault, all of the Arab nations who told the Palestinians to hold out for more territory.

It was bad advice, but that doesn't make it our responsibility. The Saudis should wake up to that fact.

That's My Word.

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