In a surprise move last February, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah called on Arab states to normalize relations with Israel in exchange for the Jewish state's withdrawal from the occupied territories. The plan initially received widespread support, but the optimism was short-lived. Since then, hundreds of civilians have been killed in a succession of Palestinian suicide attacks and Israeli military reprisals. The violence prompted President Bush to float his own peace plan in June, calling for a halt to Israel's controversial construction of settlements in the occupied territories, creation of an independent Palestinian state and replacement of longtime Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. But some observers say hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon also is an obstacle to peace.