Mubarak: Peace within reach


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Hosni Mubarak said a historic peace settlement between Israel and the Arab world is within reach.

"A historic settlement is within reach, one that would give the Palestinians their state and freedom from occupation while granting Israel recognition and security to live in peace," wrote the Egyptian president in an op-ed Friday in The Wall Street Journal. "With President Obama’s reassertion of U.S. leadership in the region, a rare moment of opportunity presents itself. Egypt stands ready to seize that moment, and I am confident that the Arab world will do the same."

Mubarak said the Palestinian issue "requires the greatest urgency," but said that "many of the details of a final settlement are well known," while the Arab peace initiative "provides a regional framework for such a settlement."

The Arab initiative offered Israel full recognition in the Arab world if it retreated to the 1948 borders and agreed to a just resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue.

"Success of these negotiations will depend on firm commitments from both sides to uphold the credibility of the process," Mubarak wrote. "Israel’s relentless settlement expansion, which has seriously eroded the prospects for a two-state solution, must cease, together with its closure of Gaza. For their part, the Palestinians must continue to develop their institutional capacity while overcoming their division to achieve their aspirations for statehood."

He continued, "While full normalization with Israel can only result from a comprehensive settlement including the Syrian, Lebanese as well as Palestinian track, the Arab side stands ready to reciprocate serious steps towards peace undertaken by Israel."

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