Gov't official: PM wants moderate Arabs involved

Senior government official: Netanyahu believes Egypt, Jordan should play enhanced role in the ME peace process.

netanyahu whos there 248 88 ap (photo credit: )
netanyahu whos there 248 88 ap
(photo credit: )
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wants to see moderate Arab states more involved in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, a senior government official said on Thursday. "The prime minister believes strongly that it's important to see the major pragmatic Arab states, countries like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, play an enhanced role in the peace process," the official told The Jerusalem Post on the condition of anonymity. "Ultimately, today, more than ever before, those countries understand the danger posed by Iran and its extremist proxies, Hizbullah and Hamas. On this basis, their increased involvement could be very positive." "You have the bilateral Israeli-Palestinian track, and the immediate circle of Israel and its Arab neighbors. It's clear that that circle affects very much the Israeli-Palestinian track," he added. He declined to elaborate or to comment on Netanyahu's opinion concerning the 2002 Arab peace initiative, which nearly all Arab states support but about which many Israeli officials have expressed reservations. Netanyahu has yet to express a clear policy regarding the peace process. Also on Thursday, President Hosni Mubarak warned "regional forces" against interfering with Egypt. Cairo recently announced the discovery of a Hizbullah terrorist cell platting attacks in the country. Apparently directing his words at Iran, Mubarak called to stop the exploitation of the Palestinian people during a speech to Egyptian troops marking the anniversary of "the liberation of the Sinai," the day the last Israeli troops left the peninsula in 1982. Certain forces in the Middle East were attempting to harm Egypt's security, he said, adding that his country's enemies were cynically taking advantage of the Palestinians for their own narrow interests. "We are aware of your plans... We will expose your plot and catch you," the Egyptian president promised. "Stop [exploiting] the Palestinian issue, and be warned of Egypt's fury." Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.