Abbas plan merges ‘road map,’ Arab initiative


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Mahmoud Abbas intends to present a new peace proposal to President Obama merging elements of the "road map" and the Arab peace initiative.

The Palestinian Authority president said at a meeting Wednesday — the day before he meets with Obama in Washington — that his proposal would be based on the components of the two existing peace initiatives and would attempt to "activate" the 2002 Arab League Initiative, according to a meeting participant.

Set up by the PLO Mission to the United States, the meeting included members of think tanks and representatives of nonprofit groups.

The Arab League initiative offers Israel normalization of relations with the Arab world in exchange for a return to the 1967 borders and a "just solution" to the Palestinian refugee issue that would be "agreed upon" by the parties. Israel has 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.

The road map is the 2002 plan proposed by The Quartet, the diplomatic grouping of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. It lays the foundation for a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Abbas also told the group that the Palestinian Authority 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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