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(photo credit: AP)
A think tank at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya has given its conditional support to the Arab Peace Initiative.
According to a report released by the IDC's Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy, Israel's security, economy, and international standing would improve if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government declared that it accepts the Arab Peace Plan, with the following five reservations: That the Palestinian state should be demilitarized; Palestinian refugees could be allowed to return only to the Palestinian state, or only a small number be allowed to live in Israel; terror against Israel would be halted immediately, and terrorist infrastructure dismantled; security arrangements would be made, and the large settlement blocs would be preserved, as part of a land swap.
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The original Arab plan, first proposed by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in 2002 during an Arab League summit in Beirut, calls for an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict through the normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab world.
It stipulates that Israel withdraw completely from the occupied territories, agree to a "just settlement" of the Palestinian refugee issue based on United Nations Resolution 194, and accept the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The Arab world, in return, would form a comprehensive peace agreement with Israel and pledge security guarantees to the country, thereby putting an end to the conflict.
The Israeli government has yet to take an official stance on the plan, but the authors of the IDC report say it is in Israel's best interests to accept it.
"To counter the Iranian threat, there is common ground among the Gulf States, the Egyptians, the Palestinian Authority and Israel, and the basis for establishing this alliance is the Arab peace plan," Professor Alex Mintz, the report's lead author, was quoted as saying by United Arab Emirates daily The National.
The report comes amid an impasse in the recently relaunched negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Professor Mintz, an expert in political psychology and decision-making, along with other researchers from the Lauder School, created a computerized model for analyzing and predicting scenarios and decisions that Israel could take to advance its interests in the region.
"After examining all the scenarios, the report came to the conclusion that the Arab Peace Initiative is the most suitable step for Israel, and I think its worth looking into," Professor Galia Golan-Gild of the Lauder School told The Jerusalem Post
"The Initiative has been sadly neglected despite the fact that it has come to provide what Israel has been seeking - an end to the conflict, acceptance in the region, security. I think this an extraordinary step," she said.