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What should be the role of the Arab world?

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What should be the role of the Arab world?

Israel desires peace with all Arab countries. It does, however, differentiate between the moderate Arab states, which have the potential for peaceful relations with Israel and the extremist states, which have no interest in peace.

The moderate Arab states have the potential to make an important and positive contribution to the peace process as well as change the face of the region for the better.

Still, the policy of confrontation with Israel has to be replaced by a policy of dialogue. As progress is being made in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, the need for this change is ever more apparent.

While there are no illusions that the Arab states will agree with Israel on the specific issues in dispute, they should agree that resolving those issues will involve compromises from both sides. Israel cannot be expected to accept ultimatums or "take-it-or-leave-it" propositions. Israel will not abide by ultimatums which state that peace can be achieved only if Israel were to accede to all Arab demands and conditions; Israel's rights and interests cannot be totally ignored, nor can the need for compromise to resolve outstanding issues be neglected.

On the other hand, the extremist states of the Middle East must stop supporting terrorist activities. They must cease incitement and antisemitic propaganda against Israel which do nothing but generate further hatred and provide a fertile ground for terrorism.

Palestinian and other terrorist organizations in the Middle East receive support, including funds and arms, from the extremist Arab countries. Some Arab states, among them Syria and Iran, back the most violent and dangerous terrorist organizations, such as Hizbullah. Syria hosts the headquarters and training bases of several Palestinian terror organizations, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad. This support must stop so that terrorism can be brought to an end. Only then will peace efforts have the chance to succeed.

In recent years, the most extreme forms of anti-Israel incitement have been allowed to flourish in Arab countries, recalling earlier periods of the Arab-Israel conflict. There has been a proliferation of antisemitic propaganda in mosques and in schools, in the state media and in academia. This racist material, similar to that used in ages past against the Jewish people - such as blood-libels and the so-called "Elders of Zion" - generates further hatred and provides a fertile ground for terrorism.

International forums, like the United Nations, should not be misused, as they are year-after-year by the Arab countries who press for adoption of the same one-sided anti-Israel resolutions, instead of looking for a fresh and constructive manner to resolve differences.

President Anwar Sadat of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan showed real leadership in making peace with Israel. The moderate countries of the Middle East, can contribute by leading the way to peace through cooperative relations with Israel.


These texts are taken from material published by the Israel Ministry of Foreign affairs. with additional comments and hyperlinked materials. They were apparently published in connection with the Annapolis peace conference of 2007, but they have extensive applicability beyond it. They explain fundamentals of Israeli policy as well as the meaning of Zionism and history of the conflict.

Table of Contents: Israel Policy FAQ


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Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs text is at Israel, the Conflict and Peace. Original text  is copyright by Ami Isseroff and Zionism-Israel Center.

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