Tag Archives: Arab League

Ahmadinejad Again Displays His Stupidity

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?

Hamas Furious At Arab Exclusion!

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh was furious at the denial of his group to be part of the foreign ministers who met in Cairo to discuss the Fatah-Hamas dispute. He insisted foreign ministers had to hear from Hamas what they believed are the causes of their conflict with the Palestinian Authority and not receive that information from second hand sources. He declared his group is committed to a truce in Gaza even as Kassam rockets were being fired into Israel. “I have met,” he said, “with armed factions over the past few days and they stated their position clearly: they are committed to calm as long as(Israel) abides by it.”

Kassam rockets continue hitting Israel leading to blockades of Gaza, attacks on militants and so on. There are reports Israel has assured Jordan’s King Abdullah there is no plan for any major offense in Gaza. It would be beneficial if both sides implemented what they continue saying in public statements.

Is Israel Finally Facing Reality?

Prime Minister Olmert of Israel as he quietly departs from his position in leadership finally has become the first Israel leader in years to speak the truth about what must be done in order to achieve peace with Arab nations. Israel leaders are seriously considering a Saudi Arabia proposal which entails the abandonment of land Israel took in the 1967 war in exchange for peace. Defense minister Ehud Barak said he had discussed the land-for-peace proposal with Tzipi Livni who will become the new prime minister. Saudi Arabia first made this proposal in 2002 and it was accepted by the 27 member Arab League.

Barak indicated his interest in the proposal by saying, “there is definitely room to introduce a comprehensive Israel plan to counter the Saudi plan that would be the basis for a discussion on overall regional peace.” Most probably a sticking point for an agreement will be Israel desire to maintain control of pieces of the West Bank which currently are home to right wing conservative Israelis.

Arab League Mediators Mediate Lebanon Crisis

Arab League mediators announced a deal on Thursday to end Lebanon’s worse internal fighting since the civil war which began when the US backed government challenged Hizbullah. The opposing sides met in Qatar and finally resolved their issues — for the moment. Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad announced, “We declare an agreement sponsored by the Arab League to deal with the Lebanon crisis. The parties pledge to refrain from returning to the use of weapons or violence to realise political gains.” Hizbullah agreed to end its civil disobedience campaign as well as taking down roadblocks which hamper transporation in the country.

Hizbullah’s deputy leader, Sheikh Naim Kassem, promied “we want to return to a settlement which leads in the end to there being neither victor nor vanquished.” Both parties agreed any final settlement would result in army commander General Michel Suleiman becoming president of the nation. The remaining issues deal with which party gets which cabinet posts.

Middle Eastern Lebanon Scorecard

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 League Wants Israel Action Or Inaction On Peace

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.

UN Watch Urges UNHRC To Reject Arab League Charter

The UN Watch, which is associated with the American Jewish Committee, urged the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, to clearify a recent endorsement of the Arab Charter of Human Rights because it “contains several provisions that promote classically anti-Semitic themes.” For example, it contains a sentence which states, “rejecting all forms of racism, Zionism and foeign occupation and domination constitute an impediment to human dignity.. such practices must be condemned and efforts must be deployed for their elimination.” The Arab charter supposedly serves as the basis for guiding how Arab nations will behave.

Perhaps, if Arab nations actually implemented human rights within their own societies it might be the first step towards establishing peaceful relations with Israel. The nation of Israel has made mistakes and has abused human rights regarding Palestinians, but overall it remains the most democratic society in the Middle East. Arab nations simply lack credibility in discussing human rights until they first ensure their own people enjoy such freedoms. It is unfortunate that a UN body would go along with blatant anti-semitism and ignore those making the statements are the embodiment of dictatorial rule and abuse of human rights.

Israel To Blame For Gaza, Says Arab League

An ongoing problem in any discussion of the Palestinian-israel conflict is the tremendous need on the part of both sides to blame the other as the sole source of problems. Arab League foreign ministers said Israel was fully responsible for the deterioration in the Gaza Strip and demanded the jewish state lift the blockade immediately and allow humanitarian suppies to enter. They issued a statement insisting Israel “stop all continued aggressions against the civilians and end the blockade and collective punishment policy.” Even as the foreign ministers issued their statement, Egyptian troops were stringing up a wire fence to prevent Gazans from leaving and entering Egypt.

Israel has made numerous mistakes ranging from refusing to engage in discussions with Hamas without insisting on preconditions, it has repeatedly utilized a program of killing leaders on the assumption this would end violence, and its policy of collective punishment is hardly in accord with international policies of warfare. On the other hand, Hamas has refused to budge an inch in its policy of refusing to recognize Israel, it has ended any cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and it has refused to halt Kassam rockets. All sides are at fault and attempting to cast blame on one nation may result in feelings of righteousness, but this is not the road to peace. Until each side can accept responsibillity for its mistakes there will be no peace in the Middle East.

Egypt And Arab League Offer Support To Secretary Of State Rice

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.

Hope For Success At Israel-Arab Meeting

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.