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Few Gifts From The Saudis

I suspect that President Obama received nothing from Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah but a medal and Arab coffee with cardaman. At least that's how the monarch's advisers took pains to make it seem. Apparently, the American visitor wanted a tiny gesture to show to Bibi Netanyahu. The most often cited was that perhaps the Saudi would open an "interest section" in Tel Aviv. It didn't go.

Or, as a Reuters dispatch from the kingdom reported, "A Saudi adviser said it was 'completely unrealistic' to expect any concession from Riyadh, at least until Israel stopped all settlement construction and accepted the Arab peace plan."

The Mickey Finn in the Arab peace plan is, of course, that the Palestinian refugees, now into their fourth generation, be resettled in Israel. Yup, that's a peace plan, alright. Not, to be sure, all five million of them, which is how U.N.R.W.A counts them.

So what did the president say about all this? Well, he was a bit squishy, not really demanding as he was to the Israelis. But he did make an important point, at least to the B.B.C. "I think we have not seen a lot of potential gestures from other Arab states, or from the Palestinians, that might deal with some of the Israeli concerns." What would a potential gesture look like?

Perhaps Obama would be satisfied if Netanyahu offered some "potential gestures."