Israel’s 60th Birthday

Israel sabotaging the Middle East peace process by Dave
February 25, 2008, 12:21 am
Filed under: Arab, Israel, Israel's 60th Anniversary, Palestine, Peace | Tags:

IRNA: Arab leaders said that Israel is sabotaging the Middle East peace process and warned they could withdraw their landmark offer of peace with Israel in exchange for a return of Arab lands, unless Israel explicitly accepts the initiative. The warnings reflect increasing Arab impatience with the long-stalled peace process with Israel.

Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have bogged down since they were relaunched at the US-sponsored Annapolis peace conference last November after a seven-year hiatus.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal – whose country sponsored the Arab peace initiative, adopted by Arab nations in 2002 – warned Thursday that “despair would force us to review these options” including withdrawing the proposal.

He accused Israel of “sabotaging” the initiative.

The Arab plan calls for complete withdrawal from the lands Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war, and establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Quds as its capital.

It also calls for Palestinian refugees’ right of return to their homes in Israel to be addressed.

Israel has lingered on full withdrawal called for in the plan.

Arab leaders are to hold a summit in March in the Syrian capital, Damascus, at which they are expected to reiterate their adherence to the peace plan. But ahead of the gathering, they have stepped up their warnings it could be rescinded.

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been marred by ongoing Israeli construction in the West Bank and East Quds [Jerusalem], areas the Palestinians want for their future state.

Saud, whose country is a close US ally, blamed Israel during a gathering of South American-Arab foreign ministers in Argentina on Thursday.

“It’s unbelievable that we keep blaming the weak party in the equation, which is the Palestinian people, with all the suffering they live under, while ignoring what Israel does by expanding settlements, tightening the siege, humiliating the Palestinians and carrying out a mass punishment against them,” al-Faisal said.


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