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Two days after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he looked favorably on certain aspects of the 2002 Saudi peace initiative, the Council for Peace and Security, an organization made up of former security officials and diplomats, said Israel should enter into a dialogue with the moderate Arab world on the basis of this plan.
The Saudi plan, adopted at the Arab Summit in Beirut in March 2002, called on Arab states to "normalize relations" with Israel in return for the establishment of a Palestinian state following an Israeli withdrawal to the Green Line and a just solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees in accordance with UN Resolution 194. This resolution called on Israel to allow the return of Palestinian refugees and compensate those who don't want to do so.
The council, which issued a position paper Wednesday making various recommendations on the diplomatic front, said that Israel should consider entering into a dialogue with the Arab Quartet (Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Persia Gulf countries) on the basis of the Saudi initiative, making clear that it welcomed the initiative, was willing to accept some of its elements and talk about others, and wanted to invite the Arab Quartet to contribute to the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon.
The position paper said that strengthening the moderate countries in the region, through steps such as a dialogue over the Saudi plan, was one way to stop the "Iranian momentum" in the region.
Maj-Gen. (res) Danny Rothschild, formerly the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, is president of the Council.
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