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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Report: A new Arab peace plan without Right of Return

This would be a welcome plan, but who is "Jordan's King Hussein II"??

'Arab world formulating new peace plan'

May. 6, 2009 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

A group of Arab leaders is formulating a new peace offer, more detailed than the original Arab Initiative, which will include a proposal for resolving the two thorniest final-status issues in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Jerusalem and the refugee problem, the London-based pan-Arab daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported Wednesday. According to the report, which relied on Palestinian sources, the new initiative is being led by Jordan's King Hussein II at the behest of US President Barack Obama.

The offer will reportedly call for the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and the Old City designated an "international zone." The question of the borders will be resolved with land swaps.

Some of the descendants of Palestinian refugees from Israel's War of Independence in 1948 will reportedly be allowed a Right of Return to the Palestinian state, while others will be naturalized in their countries of residence in the Arab world.

According to the report, the idea of a revised Arab peace plan emerged during Abdullah's meeting with Obama in Washington last month. During the meeting, the report said, the US president asked his guest to formulate a new offer that would elucidate some of the issues that remain vague in the original initiative. Upon returning to Amman, Abdullah immediately took off for Riyadh in order to discuss the US request with his Saudi counterpart.

On Sunday, the report said, Abdullah met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and filled him in on the details. On Monday he did the same with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem.

Palestinian sources quoted by the report said that the Obama had requested that the plan outline a "timetable for normalization and the establishment of diplomatic ties between Israel and the Arab world, which will encourage Israel to employ the necessary means in order to create a demilitarized Palestinian state."

The revised initiative, the sources said, "will allow the Israeli flag to billow in all the capitals of the Arab world, while the Palestinian flag is raised in the Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem, which will be the capital of the Palestinian state."

The UN banner will fly over the holy cites of the Old City of Jerusalem, the sources were quoted as saying.

Abdullah is set to meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Wednesday and Abbas on Thursday.

The Palestinian sources said that the new initiative concedes that an influx of refugees and their descendants into Israel was broadly perceived as an existential threat to the Jewish state. The refugees "cannot return to the occupied Palestinian territories of 1948," they said, "for, according to the Americans' point of view, this would pose a danger for Israel's future."


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