Last updated on: 5/15/2012 5:48:38 PM PST
Is the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative an Acceptable Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?
Saeb Erekat, PhD, former Chief Negotiator of the Oslo Accords and Chief of the PLO Steering and Monitoring Committee, said in an Oct. 19, 2008 interview titled "Barak: Israel Mulls Saudi Peace Plan" in USA Today:
"I think Israel should have done this [sign the Arab Peace Initiative] since 2002. It is the most strategic initiative that came from the Arab world since 1948. I urge them to revisit this initiative and to go with it because it will shorten the way to peace."
Oct. 19, 2008 - Saeb Erekat, PhD
Ban Ki-Moon, MPA, Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), wrote in a Mar. 28, 2007 press release titled "Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's Address to the League of Arab States in Riyadh," available on the UN's website:
"The Arab Peace Initiative is one of the pillars of the peace process. Endorsed in the Road Map, the Initiative sends a clear signal that the Arab world, too, craves peace. When I was in Israel, I urged my Israeli friends to take a fresh look at the Arab Peace Initiative. Here in Riyadh, I urge you, my Arab friends, to use this Summit to reaffirm your commitment to the Initiative. We must build on these new stirrings of potential. The status quo is dangerous. But there are positive signs. The formation of a National Unity Government in Palestine and the prospect of an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue offers the prospect of hope. At the same time, the Quartet has been re-energized and the Arab Peace Initiative suggests a new way forward for the region."
Mar. 28, 2007 - Ban Ki-Moon, MPA
Gordon Brown, PhD, 52nd Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, said in a Dec. 15, 2008 press conference held at the London Business Forum on Trade and Investment with Palestine, available at www.number10.gov.uk:
"We will welcome the renewed focus on the Arab Peace Initiative embodied in the recent letter by 22 states calling for President-elect Obama to prioritise achieving a comprehensive peace and we want to seek to build on the progress that has been made after Annapolis which was undertaken by President Bush and then made in negotiations over the past year... I think it is important to recognise that the Arab Peace Initiative, the 22 Arab States calling on President-elect Obama to prioritise the achieving of a comprehensive plan, is a very important development indeed. It is the 22 Arab countries coming behind progress that can happen quickly in their view. Asking the Presidency in America to take this as an urgent priority, and we are very much of the same view and we will do our best to promote that initiative."
Dec. 15, 2008 - Gordon Brown, PhD
The Office of the Quartet Representative, four nations involved in mediating the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, wrote in a May 30, 2007 joint statement titled "Joint Statement of the Quartet," available at www.state.gov:
"The Quartet welcomed the re-affirmation of the Arab Peace Initiative, noting that the initiative is recognized in the Roadmap as a vital element of international efforts to advance regional peace. The Arab Peace Initiative provides a welcome regional political horizon for Israel, complementing the efforts of the Quartet and of the parties themselves to advance towards negotiated, comprehensive, just and lasting peace..."
May 30, 2007 - Office of the Quartet Representative
Turki al-Faisal, former Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United Kingdom and the United States, wrote in a Dec. 26, 2008 article "Peace for the Mideast" in the Washington Post:
"The best medicine yet formulated for the Israeli-Palestinian dispute is the Arab peace initiative of 2002... The Arab world is willing to pay a high price for peace, not only recognizing Israel as a legitimate state but also normalizing relations and putting a permanent end to the state of hostilities that has existed since 1948...
The United States, the European Union, the Russian Federation and the United Nations must embrace the Arab initiative and pressure Israel to do the same."
Dec. 26, 2008 - Turki al-Faisal
David Miliband, MA, British Member of Parliament and former Foreign Minister of the United Kingdom, said in a Nov. 24, 2008 speech at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, available at www.fco.gov.uk:
"[W]hen the Arab Peace Initiative was launched in 2002 it was simply not given the attention it deserved. It was – and still is – one of the most significant and promising developments since the start of the conflict. My belief is that the time has come to build on this initiative and ensure Arab leaders are part of a renewed comprehensive peace process – active participants with interests and responsibilities, not substituting for Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, but not passive spectators either. It is an argument that I make not just to you in the Arab world, but to all Britain's international partners."
Nov. 24, 2008 - David Miliband, MA
The Oxford Research Group wrote in its Nov. 2008 publication "The Arab Peace Initiative: Why Now?," available on its website:
"...[T]he Arab Peace Initiative [is] a remarkable and historic document, effectively reversing the three 'noes' of the 1967 Khartoum Arab Summit (no peace, no recognition, no negotiation with Israel). It is the only regional peace proposal on offer and is widely regarded as the 'only show in town' that encompasses the three sets of bilateral negotiations (with Palestinians, Syria, Lebanon) within a comprehensive multilateral framework... [T]he API offers the outline of an agreement that is very much in the strategic interest of Israel. It is a deal that the founders of the State of Israel would surely have embraced with characteristic boldness, and negotiated with vigour... [T]here is no alternative framework that does or can effectively guarantee the future of a Jewish democratic state on 78% of mandate Palestine within a context of regional recognition and cooperation."
Nov. 2008 - Oxford Research Group
Yasser Arafat, late President of the Palestinian Authority, as quoted in a Mar. 3, 2002 New York Times article titled "A Saudi Peace Idea, Suddenly in the Spotlight," said:
"The Saudi peace initiative represents not only the Palestinian rights but also those of the Arab nation, and, therefore, it should not be prejudiced in any manner. It should be able to materialize our hopes into real peace in the land of peace, Palestine."
Mar. 3, 2002 - Yasser Arafat
Yuval Steinitz, PhD, Israeli Likud party member, said in an Oct. 19, 2008 interview titled "Barak: Israel Mulls Saudi Peace Plan" in USA Today:
"The Saudi plan is a nonstarter and an empty political gesture. It doesn't recognize Israel's right to defensible borders... and demands Palestinian refugees settle in the Jewish state as well as the Palestinian state, which is totally unacceptable."
Oct. 19, 2008 - Yuval Steinitz, PhD
Caroline Glick, MPP, Deputy Managing Editor for the Jerusalem Post, wrote in her Mar. 28, 2007 Jewish Press article "The Saudi Plan for Israel's Destruction," available on www.carolineglick.com:
"...[T]here is no chance whatsoever that the Saudi initiative will bring peace to the region or end the Arab world’s conflict with Israel...
Far from a 'peace plan,' it is a recipe for Israel's destruction. Without the lands that the plan requires Israel to surrender to the Palestinians and the Syrians, Israel is incapable of defending itself from invasion. The Arab peace plan, in other words, requires that Israel render itself indefensible. Moreover, the demand that Israel allow the unimpeded immigration of millions of hostile Arabs is simply another way of saying that Israel must agree to allow itself to be overrun and so demographically destroyed. Finally, the plan's statement that in response to these suicidal steps by Israel the Arab world will agree to have 'regular' relations with it is itself meaningless because the term 'regular' is an empty one. All in all, the Arab 'peace' plan is nothing but a blueprint for Israel's destruction."
Mar. 28, 2007 - Caroline Glick, MPP
Joshua Teitelbaum, PhD, Senior Research Fellow in the Dayan Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University, wrote in his Sep. 29, 2011 publication titled "The Arab Peace Initiative: A Primer and Future Prospects," available on the website of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:
"Several aspects of the Arab Peace Initiative represent significant and positive developments in the official, collecve Arab view of the future of Israel in the Middle East. However, Israel should refrain from accepting the initiave as a basis for peace negotiations because it contains seriously objectionable elements. Israel should also reject the 'all or nothing' approach of the Saudis and the Arab League. Peacemaking is the process of negotiation, not diktat."
Sep. 29, 2011 - Joshua Teitelbaum, PhD
Mahmoud al-Zahar, MD, Co-founder of Hamas and Foreign Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, said in a Nov. 12, 2006 interview with Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper, available at www.ynetnews.com:
"We will never recognize the Arab initiative. We ask what is its real value? And the answer is: nothing, because America and Israel rejected it... The problem with the initiative is that it includes recognition of the State of Israel, the thing that the Palestinian government rejects."
Nov. 12, 2006 - Mahmoud al-Zahar, MD
Mohammad Raad, Head of the Hezbollah Bloc in the Lebanese Parliament, said in a Feb. 7, 2009 interview titled "Hizbullah Rejects Calls for Peace with Israel, Urges Resistance" in The Daily Star:
"There must be a review and reconsideration of stands against those who pursue with placing bets on a settlement that would legalize the Zionist occupation of Palestine...
This option [the Arab Peace Initiative] cannot be promoted in the Arab and Islamic worlds anymore."
Feb. 7, 2009 - Mohammad Raad
Ehud Olmert, LLB, 12th Prime Minister of Israel, said in a Mar. 28, 2007 interview with BBC News titled "Arab Leaders Relaunch Peace Plan":
"Israel will never accept a plan [including the Arab Peace Initiative] that calls for the return of refugees. If 300,000-400,000, or maybe a million, Palestinians would invade the country, that would be the end of the state of Israel as a Jewish state. That's not why we created the state."
Mar. 28, 2007 - Ehud Olmert, LLB
Avigdor Lieberman, Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, said in his Apr. 22, 2009 article "Right of Return Makes Arab Plan Unacceptable" in Haaretz:
"The clause on the right of return [in the Arab Peace Initiative] cannot be agreed to. This is a subject upon which there is wide agreement in the government and in the public as well. [The Arab Peace Initiative] is a dangerous proposal, a recipe for the destruction of Israel."
Apr. 22, 2009 - Avigdor Lieberman
Ariel Sharon, former Israeli Prime Minister, was quoted in a Mar. 4, 2002 Jerusalem Post article titled "Sharon Warns Saudi Plan May Be Arab Plot":
"If the goal of the Arab world is to replace UN resolutions 242 and 338 with a demand for a total withdrawal to pre-June 1967 borders, we obviously cannot accept it [the Arab peace Initiative]."
Mar. 4, 2002 - Ariel Sharon
Muammar Qaddafi, late Libyan leader, as quoted in a Mar. 3, 2002 Reuters article titled "Gaddafi Rejects Saudi Peace Plan":
"Saudi Arabia's proposals would change nothing because a recognition of Israel would bring nothing, but put Arabs at the mercy of Israelis."
Mar. 3, 2002 - Muammar Qaddafi
Emmanuel Nachshon, former Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, as quoted in a Mar. 28, 2002 PBS Online NewsHour article titled "Arab Leaders Approve Saudi Plan":
"The Saudi initiative as it was presented by the [Beirut] summit of the Arab League represents a non-starter. We cannot accept on the one hand to have negotiations for the creation of a Palestinian state, an independent Palestinian state, and on the other hand have all the Palestinians come into Israel. This means the destruction of the state of Israel and obviously we cannot agree."
Mar. 28, 2002 - Emmanuel Nachshon