Arab Peace Initiative Puts Pressure on PM Netanyahu

Arab Peace Initiative Puts Pressure on PM Netanyahu

weekly news update from CMEP

Arab peace initiative back on the table

United States Secretary of State John Kerry met with top Arab League officials in Washington on Monday to discuss the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and the revival of the moribund peace process, an issue that Kerry has focused on intensely in his first months as the U.S.’ top diplomat. Following the meeting, Qatari Prime Minister and chair of the Arab Peace Initiative follow-up committee Hamad bin Jassim said it was “an important meeting, an important era, which we hope will lead to peace, a comprehensive peace between the Arabs and the Israelis.”

The biggest announcement stemming from the meeting was Jassim’s announcement that the Arab League backed a solution based on the 1967 lines with “comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land” which brings the Arab League in line with President Obama’s 2011 proposal and shows a shift towards compromise. The original Initiative does not concede to any “land swaps” that would allow Israel to keep some of its settlements built east of the Green Line in the West Bank.

The Arab League proposal calls for “a full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights to the lines of June 4, 1967,” a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194 and the acceptance of an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. In return, the Arab countries affirm that they will “consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended,” establish normal relations and maintain a comprehensive peace with Israel.

Secretary Kerry embraced the announcement telling reporters the following day, “We’re taking more steps. Yesterday was another step. And we’re going to continue to march forward and try to bring people to the table despite the difficulties and the disappointments of the past.” When asked about the importance of the land swap announcement he said, “I don’t think you can underestimate the significance of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Arab Emirates, the Egyptians, the Jordanians and others coming to the table and saying, ‘We are prepared to make peace now in 2013.’ ”

Click here to continue reading this week’s CMEP bulletin, including the rest of this article, and:

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