Saturday, December 13, 2008

Arabs 'ready' to normalize ties with Israel

Press TV

"Arab League states have announced their readiness to enter into a peace deal with Israel in a letter to US President-elect Barack Obama.

In the letter, Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said the bloc is ready to reach a lasting peace with Israel based on an Arab peace proposal, the AL General Secretariat announced in a Thursday statement. "The Arab side is ready to establish a just and lasting peace with Israel in line with the land-for-peace principle, the Arab Peace Initiative, and relevant UN resolutions," said the statement......

Reports indicate that the Saudi ambassador to the United States delivered the letter to one of Obama's advisors.

The Saudi-proposed Arab Peace Initiative, which was endorsed by the Arab sates in 2002, says that Israel must withdraw from the land it occupied in 1967, in exchange for diplomatic ties with Arab states. The 2002 version of the proposal also says that Tel Aviv must allow Palestinian refugees to return to their land and accept Al-Quds as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

However, recent reports indicate that in secret talks with Israeli officials during a November UN interfaith conference, Arab officials agreed to give certain concessions to Israel.

Israel's UN envoy Gabriela Shalev has confirmed the reports that Arab officials held secret meetings with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni during the conference. Anonymous Saudi sources have also revealed that King Abdullah and Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal took part in the secret talks, where the two sides discussed a new peace plan between Arab states and Israel.

The new plan, which is to be unveiled after US president-elect Barack Obama takes office, reportedly relinquishes two key Palestinian rights -- naming Jerusalem (al-Quds) as the future Palestinian capital and the 'Right of Return' of Palestinian refugees....... "

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