Arabs Revive Peace Plan, Israel Snubs

Arab leaders re-launched a Saudi-inspired initiative offering Israel full normalization of ties in exchange for withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories, Israel snubbed the overture.

Arabs Revive Peace Plan, Israel Snubs

While Arab leaders re-launched amilestone Saudi-inspired initiative offering Israelfull normalization of ties in exchange for withdrawal from all occupied Arabterritories, Israelsnubbed the overture as it did five years ago.

"I urge Israel to accept the Arab peaceplan and not to miss another chance to resolve the Israeli-Palestinianconflict," Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas told the closing session ofthe Arab summit, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The peace offer "must be turned into apractical and comprehensive plan... applicable without any change in itsclauses or even its text," he stressed.

Meeting in Riyadh fortheir two-day annual summit, Arab leaders adopted a resolution reaffirming"commitment of all Arab states to the Arab peace initiative as approved atthe Beirutsummit in 2002 in all its elements."

They renewed "their call to the government of Israel and allIsraelis to accept the Arab peace initiative and seize the opportunity toresume the process of direct and serious negotiations on all tracks."

The blueprint offers Israel peace and normal ties if itwithdraws from all land seized in the 1967 war, allows the creation of aPalestinian state with occupied Al-Quds as its capital and allows the return ofPalestinian refugees.

According to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees(UNRWA) there are more than four million Palestinian refugees living in thePalestinian territories, Jordan,Lebanon, Syria and Libya-- most of them descendants of people who fled or were forced out during the1948 war when Israelwas created.

On April 18, 1948, Palestinian Tiberius was capturedby Menachem Begin's Irgun group, putting its 5,500 Palestinian residents inflight. On April 22, Haifafell to the Zionist mobs and 70,000 Palestinians fled.

On April 25, Irgun began bombarding civilian sectorsof the Palestinian city of Jaffa - the largestcity in Palestineat that time, terrifying the 750,000 inhabitants into panicky flight.

On May 14, the day before the creation of Israel on the rubble of Palestineand bodies of the Palestinians, Jaffacompletely surrendered to the much better-equipped Zionist gangs and only about4,500 of its population remained.

Israel Rejects

Israeli officials on Thursday refused to accept therevived Arab peace initiative as it currently stands, saying negotiations wereneeded.

"There is only one way to overcome ourdifferences, and that is negotiation," Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Perestold Israeli public radio.

Israel fiercely opposes allowing refugees to return to their lands,arguing this would erase the Jewish character of the state.

"Israelhas a problem with this initiative, notably concerning the right of return ofthe Palestinians," said Welfare Minister Yitzhak Herzog, a member of Israel's powerfulsecurity cabinet.

"It is also impossible for Israel toaccept to the letter the Arab position concerning borders," he said.

Silvan Shalom, an MP with the main right-wingopposition Likud party, called the Arab League summit in Riyadh "deceitful."

"The Arab countries are not proposing a realpeace," he claimed.

"The government should say a clear no to thisinitiative as its acceptance will signify the end of the state of Israel."

Israel rejected the Arab imitative when it was first unveiled in2002.

Israeli activists from the Peace Now movementdemonstrated Wednesday outside Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's house calling onthe government to respond positively to the Arab peace initiative.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abdul Gheit, whosecountry was the first Arab state to sign a peace treaty with Israel, voiceddisappointment at the negative response, saying he hoped Israel would acceptthe plan in order to kickstart serious negotiations.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal warnedin an interview with a British newspaper on Wednesday, March 28, that Israel shouldnot expect any further diplomatic overtures.

"If Israel refuses (the plan), thatmeans it doesn't want peace and it places everything back in the hands of fate.They will be putting their future not in the hands of the peacemakers but inthe hands of the lords of war."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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