Arab leaders have begun their annual summit to discuss Middle East peace and other issues in Sirte, Libya Saturday. The Israeli-Palestinian crisis was at the top of their 27-item agenda.
Arab League chief Amr Moussa said Arab states must prepare for the possibility that peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians may be a complete failure. He said that an endless peace-process goes nowhere and achieves nothing. It is a waste of time, he adds, and it allows Israel to improve its position in Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories.
Moussa spoke at length about Arab unity and stressed the need to better resolve inter-Arab quarrels and conflicts. He said that Arab reconciliation and addressing crises and conflicts that occur between Arab states is a key demand of Arab citizens who are tired of these conflicts.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who is hosting this year's summit, urged members of the Arab League to stop the dialogue and start acting. He says that the Arab public has had enough of hearing words, as I myself have heard so many words over 40 years [at these summits]. The people, he argues, want action and not just words.
Moussa said the Arab world is "facing the multiple crises and challenges of our era" addressing the conflicts in Somalia, Sudan, Israel, Palestine, and Iran. He stressed that Arabs, like Western nations, should hold a dialogue with Iran, since it is a chief concern to the region:
He says that opening an Arab-Iranian dialogue is more urgent than ever, because Arabs are worried by many Iranian positions, despite our many common interests. The Arab League, he argues, is ready to take steps to include Iran in regional organizations if dialogue progresses.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also addressed the summit, criticizing the Israeli blockade of Gaza, as well as Israeli settlements in Jerusalem and on the West Bank.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also complained about Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in Jerusalem, noting that many world leaders, including President Barack Obama, have criticized those settlements. "There is no point in having a Palestinian state," he stressed, "without having Jerusalem as its capital."