But after Israel launched its bloody attack on Gaza, these pleas for optimism and co-operation now seem a distant memory. Unless the new US administration takes forceful steps to prevent any further suffering and slaughter of Palestinians, the peace process, the US-Saudi relationship and the stability of the region are at risk.
Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Saudi foreign minister, told the UN Security Council that if there was no just settlement, "we will turn our backs on you". King Abdullah spoke for the Arab and Muslim world when he said at the Arab summit in Kuwait that although the Arab peace initiative was on the table, it would not remain there for long.
America is not innocent in this calamity. Not only has the Bush administration left a sickening legacy in the region, but it has also, through an arrogant attitude about the butchery in Gaza, contributed to the slaughter of innocents. If the US wants to continue playing a leadership role in the Middle East and keep its strategic alliances intact - especially its "special relationship" with Saudi Arabia - it will have to revise drastically its policies vis a vis Israel and Palestine....
Prince Turki al-Faisal is the former Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States and head of the Saudi Arabian General Intelligence Directorate.