Realism and the Arab peace initiative


In response to an advertising blitz in Israeli papers promoting the Arab peace intiative, Israel’s ambassador to Britain, Ron Prosor, writes in the U.K. Guardian that the Arab states should help their Palestinian brethren set realistic, attainable goals rather than perpetuating unattainable fantasies that long have held back the Palestinian cause.

The Palestinian Authority recently took the unprecedented step of advertising the Arab Peace Initiative in Hebrew, in the Israeli press. Adverts also appeared throughout the international media, including this newspaper. Many Israelis welcomed it as a step in the right direction.

Yet before the world shouts "eureka", it is important to realise that the Arab initiative cannot be seen as a "take it or leave it" offer. It cannot serve as a diktat, or replace the need for bilateral negotiations, on both the Palestinian and Syrian tracks. The plan is an interesting starting point for negotiations, but the international community should be under no illusions. Elements of the text are a cause for grave concern as regards the survivability of the state of Israel…

The Arab initiative envisages peace between Israel and all 22 states of the Arab League, from Mauritania to Oman. To move that vision from rhetoric to reality, the wealthier Arab states must do more, politically, diplomatically and economically, to steer their less fortunate counterparts towards the path of moderation and progress…

The world must encourage the responsible leadership of the Arab world, which in turn should promote a new spirit of pragmatism and enlightened self-interest among their peoples… The Saudis, Kuwaitis and other Gulf states could do more to encourage the Palestinians towards compromise.

Recommended from JTA