iranian President Ahmadinejad once again proved he is a man whose mouth barely disguises his ignorance of what is important to Muslim people in the world. The Iranian government angrily disassociated itself from an Arab and Islamic attempt to reach out to Israel with a peace plan that could restore stability and foster economic prosperity to the Middle East. The Ahmadinejad government is furious the advertisement calling for Israel to agree to restore the 1967 borders contained pictures of the flags of all nations including that of Israel. The Iranian government told newspapers it was furious that Arab leaders were agreeing to broker peace with Israel whom it termed an “illegitimate” regime. It does not want its flag displayed in any such effort because the Iranian government is committed to violence, distrust, and hate as the only way to bring peace to the region.
The Palestinian Authority which is obviously directly involved in these negotiations took the initiative of placing the ad in Hebrew language newspapers. A Saudi Arabia newspaper published the ad but a Jordanian one refused. What exactly do those opposing the advertisement propose–continue the present non-functioning peace process? More violence? More hate?
These days it requires a scorecard to keep track of the situation in Lebanon. Shiites in Iran are influencing Lebanon politics as are Sunni Syrians while Sunni Egypt and Saudi Arabia are supporting the Lebanon government. Arab foreign ministers gathered in Cairo in an attempt to sort out the situation which has paraylzed the Lebanese government. The Arab League issued a statement which implicity is critical of Hizbullah and made clear “the ministers reject the principle of resorting to armed violence to achieve political ends.” The Arab League would like to send a delegation to Lebanon but the Beirut airport is closed since all roads leading out of it are blocked by Hizbullah forces.
Saudi Arabia and Egypt are unable to play key roles because of their close association with the Lebanese government. Syria can not play a part in resolving the situation because it has close ties with Hizbullah and has helped to create the current chaos. Iran hovers in the background attempting to portray itself as being innocent for the conflict even though its support for Hizbullah is a key factor in what has happened.
It is possible the once powerful Arab League can play a role– provided it can even get into the country.
Arab officials wrned Israel they would withdraw the landmark offer of peace and recognition of Israel in exchange for Arab land unless Israel accepts the initiative. The warnings came amidst inceasing Arab impatience with the drawn out negotiations between Israel and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority which don’t appear to be going anywhere. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said “despair would force us to review this option” including withdrawal of the proposal. He accused Israel of “sabotaging” the initiative. Prime Minister Olmert has praised the intiative but has never completely accepted it as the basis for a final peace plan.
One can understand Israel concerns after so many years of failed attempts to reach agreement with Arab nations. The past is over, the present and future should be paramount in the thinking of Israel officials. There is need for some dramatic move on the part of Israel. Recent reports indicate at least one-third of West Bank settlements were illegally seized from Arab owners. Why not announce those settlements will be returned to the original Arab owners? Why not call for talks with Hamas leaders to be held as part of an Arab League session? Why not invite formation of a Muslim Legion to supervise Gaza and control border areas? It is time for action if Israel and Palestinians are to enjoy the benefits of peace.
Posted in Human Rights, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Military, Multicultural, Muslims, Peace, Politics, War, World News
Tagged Arab League, Israel, Palestine
The Egyptian government and the Arab League offered their support to Secretary of State Rice’s efforts to achieve resolution of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Ahmed Abdul Gheit indicated he was given assurances from Rice the United States and President Bush were placing this topic as among the highest priorities to be achieved. “We feel encouraged,” said Gheit, “what we heard from Secretary Rice” and promised Egypt would do all in its power to attain an agreement. Both the Arab League and Egypt made clear any agreement must include establishment of a Palestinian state on the basis of 1967 borders.
President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have now ventured out on a limb by promising the Arab League there will be a concrete outcome to the upcoming conference to be held in Annapolis. Any agreement that Arab League members will accept must include, in one form or another, evacuation of most Israel West Bank settlements. The question is whether or not Rice can persuade the Olmert government to accept such an outcome, given the political ramifications that would result in Israel. The risk for Bush is great because failure to reach some type of agreement at Annapolis would doom any efforts by the United States to obtain support from Arab League members in dealing with Middle Eastern issues.
A report in Al-Ahram indicates there is a possibility for success at the upcoming meeting between Israel and Arab nations. America has backed down and agreed to allow Syria’s participation. Heshem Youssef, of the Arab League believes there can be success if prior to the meeting both sides have agreed upon an agenda. He feels if Israel would announce a moratorium on further West Bank settlements, cease any additions to the Wall, lift the siege on Gaza, and release some political prisoners it would create a positive climate for success.
The demands of the Arab League are fairly mild, particularly since there is no reference to the refugee question which previously has been a hindrance in negotiations. If Israel, in return, requested an end to rocket attacks from Gaza and control over suicide bombers, the potential for a successful resolution of the conflict would be possible. To resolve conflicts, all sides must believe at least some of their demands are being met. Hopefully, if the Palestinian issues could be resolved, it would provide the basis for Syria and Israel to resolve the Golan Heights issue and ensure Arab forces would control Hizbullah in Lebanon.
Posted in George Bush, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Muslims, Peace, Politics, Syria, World News
Tagged Arab League, Gaza, Israel, Palestinians, settlements, Syria