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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid