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Olmert Makes Positive Noises about Saudi Initiative

Israel looks increasingly likely to be heading towards full negotiations with Arab states over a comprehensive regional peace package. Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert, believes there has been a major shift in the approach of the Arab world in recent months. While Israel has already indicated it will not accept the Arab demand for Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return to Israel, Jerusalem has made clear it thinks the Saudi Initiative, endorsed this week at the Arab league summit in Riyadh, forms the basis for potential negotiations. One spanner in the works could be attempts by Israel political opposition forces to block the move. Meanwhile, Hamas has yet to accept the provisions of the Saudi plan, which includes the full recognition of Israel.