PA urged to accept Beirut peace plan

Plan calls for normalized relations with Israel if 1967 borders are restored.

mashaal 88 (photo credit: AP)
mashaal 88
(photo credit: AP)
Arab officials on Saturday urged the foreign minister of the Hamas-led Palestinian government to consider an Arab plan to end the conflict with Israel that calls for exchanging land for peace. Mahmoud Zahar said he would discuss the initiative with the others in the government but pointed out that Israel had not yet accepted the deal. "I will convey all that I heard to every decision-maker and make a clear picture about the initiative. But the problem is: does the other party accept it?" Zahar told reporters after a meeting with Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa and other Arab envoys. At a summit in Sudan last month, the Arab leaders said a 2002 peace-for-land initiative is the Arab world's only option for ending the conflict with Israel, suggesting that a Hamas government should accept the plan. Earlier Saturday, Hamas leader abroad Khaled Mashaal said in a Teheran press conference that "Hamas will never recognize Israel." Mashaal went on to praise the Iranian government for its economic aid to the Palestinians, and added that, "the West wants the Palestinians to starve." On Friday, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that the suspension of Western aid to the PA would not bring down his Hamas-led government nor cow the Palestinian people. "The Palestinian people will not give up their government no matter how many sacrifices we have to make. We are prepared to eat salt and olives," he told supporters in a speech after Friday prayers. Zahar, in his meetings with Arab leaders, called on Arab states to stand by their promises of aid to the PA.