First Published: 2005-12-05

 
Saudi prince gives Sharon 'benefit of the doubt' for peace
 

Sharon and Peres can duplicate and repeat in the West Bank what happened in Gaza: al-Walid.

 

Middle East Online

He was a criminal ... if he changes, I welcome that.

DUBAI - Billionaire Saudi Prince al-Walid bin Talal on Monday gave Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon the "benefit of the doubt" that he could broker a peace deal between the Jewish state and the Arabs.

"We should leave him the benefit of the doubt," Al-Walid said during a panel discussion at the Arab and World Media Conference organised by the Arab Thought Foundation in Dubai.

"There are many doubts about Sharon. He was a criminal ... (but) if he changes, I welcome that. Any person who can create peace between Israel and Arabs is welcome," he said.

"We have to see if Sharon can deliver."

Al-Walid urged Sharon, following his departure from the Likud party and his alliance with former Labour prime minister Shimon Peres, to end Israel's presence in the occupied West Bank as he did with the historical pullout from the Gaza Strip in August.

He hoped "Sharon and Peres can duplicate and repeat in the West Bank what happened in Gaza."

Considering Sharon a "criminal," Al-Walid said there was "no difference" between the Sabra and Shatila massacres during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon when Sharon was defense minister and the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States.

Fifteen of the 19 people involved in the attacks were Saudi citizens.

"There is no difference" as both represent "the killing of innocent people," he said.

Al-Walid also criticised US policy in Iraq, but admitted that US forces could not leave the violence-plagued country in the near future.

"The US misunderstood the whole thing. I think the US does not understand Iraq," he said, but "in the short term the US cannot leave, they can only leave when Iraq is ready."

"The US could pull out with a face-saving process," he said.

Al-Walid also criticised US media which he described as "in general ... pro-Israel." But he also accused Arabs of not being pro-active in fighting the allegedly slanted media.

He said that during last month's street protests in France, the US television network Fox -- owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in which Al-Walid himself has shares -- ran a banner saying: "Muslim riots."

"I picked up the phone and called Murdoch... (and told him) these are not Muslim riots, these are riots out of poverty," he said.

"Within 30 minutes, the title was changed from Muslim riots to civil riots."

 

Iraq’s peshmerga ‘break’ Mount Sinjar siege

Yemen’s Huthis seize Sanaa state offices

Tough times for oil-rich GCC

Obama concerned about Egypt mass trials

Tumbling oil prices cut budgets of Mideast arms exporters

Turkey acquits sociologist over 1998 explosion

EU foreign affairs head to visit Iraq

Turkey court remands Samanyolu TV chief in custody

IS threatens to kill Lebanese soldiers held hostage

Turkish media chiefs charged with terrorism

Iraq may delay payment of Kuwait war reparations

Over $900 million needed to help Syria children

Saudi rules out oil output reduction

Dutch populist lawmaker to be tried for 'fewer Moroccans' vow

Outrage in Algeria over Islamist call for Algerian author's death

Iraq Kurds, coalition launch offensive to retake Sinjar

Three years to end Israeli occupation in UN resolution

Somalia appoints new PM after bitter infighting

Blow to Israel: EU court removes Hamas from terror blacklist

Sharp rise in Syria passport applications

Turkey FM visit to Iran highlights Syria divide

UK troops mistreated Iraq detainees in 2004

Saudi to carry on massive public spending

Iran to Australia: We warned you about the gunman

From bikini to Jihad in Ceuta, Melilla

Tunisia votes Sunday in second round of presidential poll

Islamist militias launch air strike near key Libyan oil terminals

Egypt refers 312 Islamists to military courts

Turkey rejects EU criticism over media arrests

Kerry meets chief Palestinian negotiator

Saudi cleric sparks uproar for showing wife’s face

15,000 march against country’s ‘Islamisation’ in eastern Germany

Key oil producers face uncertain outlook in 2015

Gulf stock markets tumble

Australia mourns Sydney cafe siege victims

Hostages flee as police storm Sydney café

Erdogan to EU: Mind your own business!

Syria PM in Iran for talks with key ally

22 Swiss jihadists fighting abroad

#illridewithyou: Australians stand in solidarity with Muslims

Sydney siege 'lone wolf' or IS-led attack?

EU support UN efforts for Aleppo ceasefire

Saudi policeman killed in Riyadh hostage-taking

Saudi king receives Jordan monarch

Palestinians push UN bid to end Israeli occupation