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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More