Arab Peace Initiative


Arab Peace Initiative

The Arab Peace Initiative (Arabic Language: مبادرة السلام العربية) is a peace initiative first proposed in 2002 by then-Crown Prince, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, in the Beirut Summit of the Arab League. The peace initiative is a proposed solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict as a whole, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular. The initiative obtained the unanimous consent of all members of the Arab League.

The initiative was initially published on 28 March 2002 at the Beirut Summit, and again endorsed at the Riyadh Summit in 2007.

The Plan

The plan consists of a proposal to end the Arab-Israeli conflict. It offers Israel normalization of relations and comprehensive peace agreements with Arab countries in exchange for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all the Occupied Territories including the Golan Heights, and the recognition of "an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as 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
*Implementation of United Nations Security Council resolutions 242 and 338.
*The establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as 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.

Implementation steps

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 States of America, the Russian Federation, the Muslim states and the European Union.

Reactions

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 Peres welcomed 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 Arabia was preparing a supplementary initiative in preparation for the next Arab League summit meeting. The Kuwaiti newspaper, as-Siyasa, reported that the supplementary initiative would call for the resettlement of up to 2 million refugees in Arab countries 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 Authority Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath called 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, Lebanon and Syria campaigned for the inclusion of a reference to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194, which emphasizes the Palestinian right of return to 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 Summit in 2007.

Jordan and Egypt were 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 Arab countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel. Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdul Ilah Khatib and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Jerusalem on 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 Olmert has 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] ]

ee also

*Arab-Israeli Conflict

External links

* [http://www.jordanembassyus.org/arab_initiative.htm Text of the Initiative on the web site of the Jordanian Embassy in the US]

References


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