Arab League seems to soften Israeli-Palestinian peace plan

WASHINGTON Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:39am EDT

Qatar's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani speaks during a news conference with Egypt's Prime Minister Hisham Kandil (not pictured) at Diwam Emir in Doha, April 10, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

Qatar's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani speaks during a news conference with Egypt's Prime Minister Hisham Kandil (not pictured) at Diwam Emir in Doha, April 10, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Arab states appeared to soften their 2002 peace plan on Monday when a top Qatari official said Israel and the Palestinians could trade land rather than conform exactly to their 1967 borders.

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, Qatar's prime minister and foreign minister, made the comment after he and a group of Arab officials met U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss how to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace.

Speaking on behalf of an Arab League delegation, Sheikh Hamad appeared to make a concession to Israel by explicitly raising the possibility of land swaps, although it has long been assumed that these would be part of any peace agreement.

"This news is very positive," Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told Army Radio on Tuesday. "In the tumultuous world around ... it could allow the Palestinians to enter the room and make the needed compromises and it sends a message to the Israeli public that this is not just about us and the Palestinians."

Kerry has made no secret of his hope to revive peace talks, which broke down in 2010, but it remains unclear whether U.S. President Barack Obama will decide to back a major U.S. effort.

In convening the group, Kerry is trying to ensure that a new peace process would have the backing of the Arab states, who, if they were to offer Israel a comprehensive peace, hold a powerful card that could provide an incentive for Israeli compromises.

"The Arab League delegation affirmed that agreement should be based on the two-state solution on the basis of the 4th of June 1967 line, with the (possibility) of comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land," he told reporters after the meeting at the Blair House, the U.S. president's guest house.

Monday's talks included the Bahraini, Egyptian, Jordanian and Qatari foreign ministers as well as officials from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority and the Arab League. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden also attended part of the meeting.

The Arab League proposal offered full Arab recognition of Israel if it gave up land seized in a 1967 war and accepted a "just solution" for Palestinian refugees.

Rejected by Israel when it was originally proposed at a Beirut summit in 2002, the plan has major obstacles to overcome.

Israel objects to key points, including a return to 1967 borders, the inclusion of Arab East Jerusalem in a Palestinian state and the return of Palestinian refugees to what is now Israel.

The core issues that need to be settled in the more than six-decade dispute include borders, the fate of Palestinian refugees, the future of Jewish settlements on the West Bank and the status of Jerusalem.

(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed and Maayan Lubell; Editing by David Brunnstrom and Bill Trott)

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Comments (5)
TheNewWorld wrote:
One side states there will never be any peace as long as Israel exists. This is a lost cause.

Apr 29, 2013 10:16pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Reuters1945 wrote:
“The Arab League proposal offered full Arab recognition of Israel if it gave up land seized in a 1967 war”.

One never knows if one should laugh or laugh even louder.

The way the Arab League talks, one would think it was Israel that lost the 1967 war and not all the Arab States, who in foolishly attacking and trying to destroy the State of Israel, saw their combined Arab armies, 100 per cent fully decimated on every single field of battle.

The poor Arab League, made up of some of the most brutal, backward and politically repressive dictatorships on Earth, still does not get it, even after all these years and after all their ignominious defeats.

The State of Israel can live with or without the so-called “recognition” of the Arab League. The defeats on the battle field the Arab League Nations have suffered in the past, each time they attacked Israel, will seem like a picnic in the park, compared to what their military losses will be if they are ever so foolish as to attack the State of Israel again in the future.

That old saying, “the war to end all wars”, will actually occur and be fulfilled, if the State of Israel is ever forced to defend itself again.

Israel is now one thousand times more powerful, from a military point of view, than it was in 1967. And ten thousand times more powerful than it was in 1948 when it succeeded in defending itself against what the entre world thought were such impossible odds that the newly, just born State of Israel had zero chance of surviving more than two weeks.

In fact Israel now possesses such abundant cutting edge military technology that within 48 hours of any future attack by the combined nations of the Arab League, Israel has the technological capability to send the entire Arab League nations back into the Dark Ages from which they would require decades to recover.

The Arab League rolled the dice in 1967, (and not for the first time), when it believed it could push the citizens of Israel into the sea.

Instead, in the space of a mere six days, the combined armies of the Arab League were decimated by the Israel Defense Forces and they lost vast swaths of land, including the entire Sinai Desert and the Golan Heights as well.

But the game changer now is that the Israeli Navy has Atomic armed submarines strategically placed throughout the vast deep waters of the Middle East.

The State of Israel has no wish to get involved in another war with its neighbors. However if Israel’s neighbors ever make the very rash mistake, perhaps better said, gross miscalculation, of attacking the State of Israel again, the Arab League will be militarily annihilated once and for all.

I can imagine Israeli soldiers who lost Fathers and Brothers in previous wars, sitting every day of the week just thinking, when listening to the very bellicose and reality challenged members of the Arab League pontificate, ad nausea, on their “demands” if Israel wants their “recognition”: “Yes, Arab League States, please do attack us here in Israel – and as Clint Eastwood once famously said: “Make my Day”.

Apr 30, 2013 2:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse
rgbviews wrote:
Israel should not be allowed any international recognition of the settlements. They are clearly illegal under international law.

Establish the 67 boundary, then and only then the two states can negotiate land swaps AND water agreements.

Apr 30, 2013 8:37am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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