Monday, February 23, 2009

Bahrain's Crown Prince - pro-settlements?

Perhaps nowhere on Earth are sentences parsed for hidden messages as carefully they are in the Middle East. So the interview that Bahrain's Crown Prince gave to Sky News is curious indeed.

It starts off as one would expect - with the prince, Sheikh Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, trying to pressure Great Britain to be even more pro-Arab than it already is:
The crown prince of Bahrain said on Monday Britain was too pro-Israel in its outlook, but its contribution to the Middle East peace process was still needed.

"If we are to solve the Arab-Israeli issue then you cannot approach it as a friend of one side at the expense of another," Sheikh Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa told Sky television.

When asked if he felt Britain had been too pro-Israeli he replied: "I think we all feel that."

"But that doesn't mean we don't want Britain's involvement, we need Britain's involvement and we need Britain to be more impartial, sure."

Isn't it funny that third-party Arab nations are not expected to be "impartial," but they complain if the West isn't (in their estimation?)

But the interesting part comes later:

To settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "you give up land for peace," he said. "Land that you haven't already built on. It can't be simpler."
Does this mean that Bahrain believes that Israel can hold onto the settlements that have already been "built on?" How about Greater Jerusalem?

I have a feeling that we will see some backtracking real fast.