Abbas comes to D.C. with new plan


Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas intends to present a new peace proposal to President Obama on Thursday that merges elements of the Road Map and the Arab peace initiative.

At a meeting Wednesday with think tankers and representatives of non-profit groups set up by the PLO mission to the United States, Abbas said his proposal would be totally based on the components of the two already-existing peace initiatives and would attempt to "activate" the 2002 Arab peace plan, according to one of the participants in the meeting.

The Arab League intiative offers Israel normalization of relations with the Arab world in exchange for return to the 1967 borders and a "just solution" to the Palestinian refugee issue that would be "agreed upon" by the parties. Israel has in the past complained that the refugee language is vague and leaves open the possiblity of a mass return. Abbas, according to the meeting participant, said he "will not demand the return of 5 million" Palestinian refugees to Israel — saying "we will not destroy Israel" — and emphasized the importance of the "agreed upon" portion of the language.

"It means no one can enforce anything on the other," Abbas said, according to the participant.

Abbas also told the group that the PA would continue its security cooperation with Israel, no matter the progress, or lack thereof, in political negotiations.

"It is in both our interest and Israel’s interest," he said.

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