News / Middle East

Reviving the Arab Peace Initiative

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Arab League leaders in Washington April 29, to discuss restarting israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Arab League leaders in Washington April 29, to discuss restarting israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Mohamed Elshinnawi
— U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is pressing ahead with his effort to restart Arab-Israeli peace negotiations through talks with key nations that drew up the decade-old Arab Peace Initiative.
 
On Monday and Tuesday, Kerry met with the prime minister of Qatar, the secretary-general of the Arab League, Nabil El-Araby, and representatives of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority to discuss possible changes in the Peace Initiative that would be interesting to the Israelis.  
 
The initiative was introduced initially by Saudi Arabia's then crown prince, King Abdullah, and was endorsed later by the 22-member Arab League at a summit in Beirut. The proposal offered comprehensive peace between Israel and the Arabs in exchange for a full pullout from all territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.
 
The Arab League re-endorsed the initiative in 2007, and the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation has also endorsed it. Israel rejected the plan at the time.
 
A top Palestinian official said Kerry proposed changes to the Arab Peace Initiative to make it more agreeable to Israel – mainly that the 1967 lines “could be modified” through mutual agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.
 
Arab representatives, including Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani, said after Monday’s meeting with Kerry that it was agreed that “minor” and “comparable” land exchanges based on the 1967 lines would now be acceptable.
 
Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, says his side had already agreed on minor border land swaps.Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, says his side had already agreed on minor border land swaps.
x
Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, says his side had already agreed on minor border land swaps.
Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, says his side had already agreed on minor border land swaps.
Saeb Erekat, chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, said Tuesday the changes worked out in Washington were not really new, noting that the Palestinian Authority had already agreed to minor land swaps.
 
“The Arab delegation,” Erekat said, “presented the official Palestinian position: Upon Israel’s unequivocal acceptance of the two-state solution on the 1967 border, the State of Palestine as a sovereign country might consider minor agreed border modifications.”
 
Modified initiative
 
New or not, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Tuesday that such a change could allow Palestinians to "make the needed compromises" to further negotiations. 
 
“This is a positive announcement,” Livni told Israel’s Chanel 10 TV, but added that “at the end, you need direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.”
 
Her boss, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, made no immediate comment on Kerry’s talks in Washington. Previously, he had rejected any return to the 1967 lines, saying that would leave Israel vulnerable to attack.  

This latest Arab position echoes President Barack Obama's 2011 call for Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate their borders on the basis of the 1967 lines with "mutually agreed swaps."
 
The Arab Peace Initiative, if adopted, would offer Israel "normal relations" with Arab League members and calls for providing "security for all the states of the region." 
 
Why now? 
 
Middle East Experts cite a number of reasons behind the move to resurrect the Arab Peace Initiative.
 
“The API (Arab Peace Initiative) stands out singularly because it was the initiative of the collective Arab political body,” said Philip Wilcox, president of Foundation for Middle East Peace, Her adds that it opens a way to bring Hamas, the Palestinian faction that controls the Gaza Strip, into the negotiations.
 
“The API offers Hamas, which must be an integral part of future negotiations, the opportunity to accept the API (joining the Arab states) without requiring it to recognize Israel in advance and without accepting prior agreements…,” Wilcox said.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid