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Petulance and pandemonium in Petra

By David Singer - posted Tuesday, 1 July 2008


Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa must have had a brain explosion during a lunch time speech delivered by Israel's President Shimon Peres to Nobel Laureates attending a conference in Petra to discuss the global food crisis.

Which particular comment by Peres caused the normally urbane and polished Moussa to grab the microphone and verbally attack Peres is unclear but his reaction was quite breathtaking:

You are a maestro in talking, but don't take us for granted because we are not fools … You talk about peace, but we did not hear Israel's opinion about the Arab peace initiative …

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Surely Moussa is aware of Israel's opinion about the Arab peace initiative first proposed by Saudi Crown Prince Adullah and endorsed by the Arab League in Beirut on March 28, 2002?

Any prospect of that initiative having any bearing in resolving the Arab-Israel conflict was doomed from the time it was announced since it called for "full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon".

When President Bush announced the details of his Roadmap on April 30, 2003 he stated it would:

… resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, and end the occupation that began in 1967, based on the foundations of the Madrid Conference, the principle of land for peace, UNSCRs 242, 338 and 1397, agreements previously reached by the parties, and the initiative of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah - endorsed by the Beirut Arab League Summit - calling for acceptance of Israel as a neighbour living in peace and security, in the context of a comprehensive settlement.

These were fine sounding words but Israel was in no mood to accommodate President Bush and commit national suicide by agreeing to return to the borders where it had faced extinction at the hands of the armies of many Arab League members on June 4, 1967.

Israel accordingly presented President Bush with 14 reservations to the Road Map's implementation.

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One of those reservations required:

The removal of references other than 242 and 338 (1397, the Saudi Initiative and the Arab Initiative adopted in Beirut). A settlement based upon the Roadmap will be an autonomous settlement that derives its validity therefrom. The only possible reference should be to Resolutions 242 and 338, and then only as an outline for the conduct of future negotiations on a permanent settlement.

On May 23, 2003, then Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice made the following statement from the White House:

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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