(photo credit: AP [file])
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Friday said determining the "contiguous" borders of a future Palestinian state was the first priority of getting the Israeli Palestinian peace process back on track.
In a piece entitled How to Achieve Israeli-Palestinian Peace in Friday's Wall Street Journal, Mubarak opined that US President Barack Obama's "seminal" address in Cairo earlier this month had shown that "it is issues of politics and policy, not a clash of values, that separate the Muslim world and America. It is the resolution of these issues that will heal the divide."
"Among the host of challenges before us," Mubarak continues, "it is the Palestinian issue that requires the greatest urgency, given the precarious state of the peace process after years of stalemate."
Mubarak reiterated the Arab world's commitment to the Saudi peace initiative, citing the Beirut summit of 2002 where the initiative was adopted by the Arab League.
He said Israel's "relentless settlement expansion, which has seriously eroded the prospects for a two-state solution," must come to a stop if the peace initiative is to be successfully implemented, as well as the closure of Gaza. The Palestinians, Mubarak writes, must "continue to develop their institutional capacity while overcoming their division to achieve their aspirations for statehood."
The first priority, the Egyptian president says, is "to resolve the permanent borders of a sovereign and territorially contiguous Palestinian state, based on the 1967 lines, as this would unlock most of the other permanent status issues, including settlements, security, water and Jerusalem."
"A historic settlement is within reach," Mubarak wrote. "Egypt stands ready to seize that moment, and I am confident that the Arab world will do the same."