US-Israel rift has Arabs optimistic over UN Palestine resolution

Arab League chief El-Araby said that the Americans are raising new proposals for restarting the stalled diplomatic process.

March 21, 2015 17:59
2 minute read.
A Palestinian villager rides his donkey past a mural in the West Bank village of Awarta near Nablus

A Palestinian villager rides his donkey past a mural in the West Bank village of Awarta near Nablus. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Arab League believes that a new UN Security Council resolution endorsing Palestinian statehood has a better chance of winning passage now that the Obama administration is conducting a "reassessment" of its Middle East peace policies.

"There is an indication that the Americans are rethinking the Arab-Palestinian draft proposal for an end to the Israeli occupation that will be submitted to the Security Council," the head of the Arab League, Secretary-General Nabil El-Araby, told the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram over the weekend.

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El-Araby is quoted as saying that the Americans are raising new proposals for restarting the stalled diplomatic process, and the matter was discussed during the recent Egypt economic aid summit in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

The conference was attended by US Secretary of State John Kerry, Jordan's King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Arab League chief said that European governments have already expressed their readiness to approve resolutions. What is needed now is a US commitment to refrain from wielding a veto, which Washington will agree to on condition that the British and French governments offer an acceptable resolution.

"[We need to see] the language that will be presented in the new resolution," El-Araby said. "I think the American side is looking at all options after the elections in Israel, and there are positive indications in this regard, especially after the summit meeting in Sharm last week."

The Arab League is due to convene for its annual conference next week in Sharm.

"The Palestinians are agreeable to a state on half of the territory offered to them by the UN Partition Plan of 1947," El-Araby said. "The problem has been that the international community has agreed to manage the conflict these past few decades by means of declarations and summit meetings."

El-Araby called on the Israeli government to accept the Arab Peace Initiative, which was formally approved by the Arab League in the Beirut summit of March 2002. It calls for recognition of a Palestinian state along the 1967 lines and an Israeli withdrawal from lands captured during the Six-Day War.

"Implementation of the agreement would bring about an end to the conflict while ushering in diplomatic relations between Israel and all Arab countries," El-Araby said. "This is an initiative that for the first time emphasizes the need of the Israeli people to live in peace alongside Arab countries."

"This is a golden opportunity," he said.

El-Araby told an Egyptian news outlet that he was disappointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's re-election this past week.

Egyptian diplomatic sources told the Saudi newspaper Okaz that "what Netanyahu said during the election campaign [disavowing support for a two-state solution] is one thing, and what happens afterward is something entirely different. Netanyahu will not follow through with his threats due to the international situation."

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