Abbas boosts Saudi proposal

Mahmoud Abbas urged Israel to accept a Saudi proposal for a regional peace deal. The Palestinian Authority president said in an interview published Friday that the proposal, which was first issued in 2002 and is up for discussion at an Arab League summit later this month, could be groundbreaking for Israel. “We are proposing that you make peace with 57 Muslim countries. That you no longer be an isolated island. That the Israeli flag fly from Morocco to Mauritania to Indonesia,” Abbas told Yediot Achronot. “Everyone is willing to support the Saudi initiative. This is the most serious peace initiative since 1948,” the year of Israel’s founding. Israeli leaders have voiced renewed interest in the Saudi proposal, though they have reservations about its calls for a complete withdrawal from territory captured in 1967 and its apparent embrace of the Palestinian demand for a refugee “right of return” to Israel, which Israelis see as demographic suicide.

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