- Arab Peace Initiative
The Arab Peace Initiative (Arabic Language: مبادرة السلام العربية) is a
peaceinitiative first proposed in 2002 by then- Crown Prince, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, in the Beirut Summitof the Arab League. The peace initiative is a proposed solution to the Arab-Israeli conflictas a whole, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflictin particular. The initiative obtained the unanimous consent of all members of the Arab League.
The plan consists of a proposal to end the
Arab-Israeli conflict. It offers Israelnormalization of relations and comprehensive peace agreements with Arabcountries in exchange for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all the Occupied Territoriesincluding the Golan Heights, and the recognition of "an independent Palestinian state in the West Bankand Gaza Stripwith East Jerusalemas its capital," as well as a "just solution" for the Palestinian refugees. [ [http://www.al-bab.com/arab/docs/league/peace02.htm Document: The Arab Peace Initiative, 2002 ] ]
The initiative is based upon:
*The principle of
Land for peace.
*The conviction of the Arab countries that a military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for the parties.
The goals of the initiative are:
*Full Israeli withdrawal from all the Arab territories occupied since June 1967
United Nations Security Councilresolutions 242 and 338.
*The establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with
East Jerusalemas its capital
*A just solution to the Palestinian Refugee problem, to be agreed upon in accordance with section 11 of
UN General Assembly Resolution 194.
*The normalization of relations in the context of a comprehensive peace
At the request of
Lebanon, the fourth section stipulated that Palestinians would not be patriated at the expense of "the special circumstances of the Arab host countries" - understoodFact|date=March 2008 to refer to Lebanon's demographic balance.
The initiative calls for the establishment of a special committee composed of a portion of the Arab League's concerned member states and the Secretary General of the League of Arab States to pursue the necessary contacts to gain support for the initiative at all levels, particularly from the United Nations, the
Security Council, the United Statesof America, the Russian Federation, the Muslim states and the European Union.
Jordan's foreign minister said:
: The Arab initiative put forth at the Beirut Summit in March offers comprehensive peace in the region based on the internationally recognized formulation of "land for peace" - a return to June 4, 1967, borders in exchange for normal relations and a collective peace treaty.
In response, on March 28, 2002 Israeli Foreign Minister
Shimon Pereswelcomed the initiative and said:
:"Israel views positively every initiative aimed at arriving at peace and normalization. In this respect, the Saudi step is an important one, but it is liable to founder if terrorism is not stopped. We cannot, of course, ignore the problematic aspects which arose at the Beirut Summit and the harsh and rejectionist language used by some of the speakers.
:It is also clear that the details of every peace plan must be discussed directly between Israel and the Palestinians, and to make this possible, the Palestinian Authority must put an end to terror, the horrifying expression of which we witnessed just last night in Netanya." [http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/About+the+Ministry/MFA+Spokesman/2002/Response+of+FM+Peres+to+the+decisions+of+the+Arab.htm]
Hamas' spokesman Ismail Abu Shanab said on the same day that his organization would accept the initiative:
:"That would be satisfactory for all Palestinian military groups to stop and build our state, to be busy in our own affairs, and have good neighborhood with Israelis." [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2002/04/28/MN222422.DTL]
Palestinian refugee issue
The Initiative did not appear to gain momentum after its publication in 2002. On
30 January 2004, it appeared that Saudi Arabiawas preparing a supplementary initiative in preparation for the next Arab Leaguesummit meeting. The Kuwaiti newspaper, as-Siyasa, reported that the supplementary initiative would call for the resettlement of up to 2 million refugees in Arabcountries and the rest in a Palestinian state. [http://www.forward.com/issues/2004/04.01.30/news3.html] [http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/386411.html] In response, the Palestinian AuthorityForeign Minister Nabil Shaathcalled the report "nonsense," and Saudi officials denied such a plan was being proposed. The central committee of Fatah, the ruling party in the Palestinian Authority at that time, issued a statement describing the Saudi initiative as another "stab" against the struggle of the Palestinian people.
At the Beirut Summit,
Lebanonand Syriacampaigned for the inclusion of a reference to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194, which emphasizes the Palestinian right of returnto Israel. A compromise was eventually reached, citing the resolution but stating that the League would support any agreement between Israel and Palestinians on the issue.
Similar Palestinian criticism had previously greeted the 2003 Geneva initiative's formula to send most of the refugees to third countries and only a symbolic number to Israel.
Current status of the initiative
The Arab Initiative resurfaced at the 2008 Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade when Dr.
Alon Ben-Meir, a strong advocate of the Initiative, challenged the group of ambassadors and government officials to take action, including Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who made an historic visit to the region to start the peace reconciliation process.
The initiative was previously endorsed by the Arab League at the
Riyadh Summitin 2007. Jordanand Egyptwere appointed by the Arab League as its representatives to meet with Israeli leaders to promote the Initiative. These countries were chosen because Egypt and Jordan are the only Arabcountries that have diplomatic relations with Israel. Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul Ilah Khatiband Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheitmet with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Defense Minister Ehud Barakin Jerusalemon 25 July 2007. This was the first time that Israel received an official delegation from the Arab League. [ [http://cordover.blogspot.com/2007/07/weekend-news-wrapup-7807.html "Weekend News Wrapup-7-8-07"] Cafe Cordover] [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/879522.html "Officials: Arab League to make first official visit to Israel Thurs."] Haaretz] [ [http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/6B85ADE2-4D03-4E90-9AF7-8D1790278D34.htm "Arab League to visit Israel"] Al Jazeera] [ [http://cordover.blogspot.com/2007/07/weekend-news-wrapup-71507_15.html "Weekend News Wrapup- 7/15/07"] Cafe Cordover] [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6769962,00.html "Arab League Envoys Postpone Israel Visit"] The Guardian] [ [http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/article.aspx?id=912 "A Revealing Spat Between Israel and the Arab League"] World Politics Review] [ [http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/64FA41C2-E72A-40FE-8A5D-434884CD26E3.htm "Arabs push Israel for final talks"] Al Jazeera] [ [http://cordover.blogspot.com/2007_07_01_archive.html "The Arab League in Israel?"] Cafe Cordover] [ [http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=65795 "Arab League envoys extend ‘hand of peace’ to Israel"] The News International] [ [http://www.unitedjerusalem.org/index2.asp?id=952054&Date=7/26/2007 "Israel gets ´historic´ Arab visit - Envoys urge action on Palestinian state"] United Jerusalem]
Israeli Prime Minister
Olmerthas welcomed the plan, with reservations on a pull back from East Jerusalem and resettlement of Palestinians in Israel proper. Arab leaders complain, however, that the peace process is stalled and threaten to withdraw their proposal unless they obtain an explicit acceptance of it by Israel. [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/957101.html The Associated Press, ‘Arab states threaten to rescind 2002 Saudi peace initiative,' Haaretz 23/02/2008] ]
* [http://www.jordanembassyus.org/arab_initiative.htm Text of the Initiative on the web site of the Jordanian Embassy in the US]
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