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.