Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

No Amendment to the Arab Peace Initiative | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Arab [peace] initiative was born as a political miracle amid unusually favorable circumstances at a time when there was a short-lived inter-Arab agreement that enabled all Arabs to accept it.

After being signed by all Arab and Islamic states, it is unreasonable for this initiative to be reproduced. It is a miracle because the Arabs rarely agree on a political plan dealing with any issue, namely the conflict with Israel.

On that basis, the talk about amending the Arab peace initiative means that the initiative will be practically invalid because if it is to be amended, a voting will take place, in which case disagreement is bound to arise, as is the case with any issue put to a vote. There was a similar situation yesterday during a vote to choose a president for the Asian Soccer Federation where the Arabs were divided, with some voting for a Qatari candidate and others supporting the Bahraini candidate.

We are talking here about a human tragedy, not a soccer match. We are talking about millions of people who live under occupation.

The Arab peace initiative is truly a precious gift given by the Arabs, and the Americans must not take it slightly or give it up because it is the only plan that called for a collective recognition of Israel. In terms of its importance, it cannot be compared with the [Jordanian-Israeli] Wadi Arabah agreement or the Camp David peace accord.

This initiative will bring about the largest peace since the end of the Second World War because some 50 Arab and Islamic states have endorsed it. It will resolve the issues of three states and rectify the status of tens of organizations to turn them into unarmed civilian institutions. Also, it will reduce the size of armament in the opposing states.

I was in Beirut when the Arab peace initiative was endorsed at the summit. In fact, I could not believe my eyes when I saw rejectionist revolutionary states, such as Syria, Sudan, Libya, Algeria, and Iraq, which was then under the rule of Saddam, sign the initiative with all its provisions. Its provisions were so clear that they contained commitments, which governments would normally be shy to mention publicly, such as the recognition of Israel. This fact means that the initiative needed no secret appendixes.

Accordingly, those who now call for amending the initiative are practically calling for aborting the only available opportunity for peace. This means that they reject today what they will accept tomorrow, perhaps in 10 or 20 years, after more bloodbaths, chaos, and violence.

It is true that this initiative is not a sacred book. However, it is an unusual outcome. If any surgery is performed on this initiative, it will bleed further and may relapse.

Some parties, such as Israel and Iran, want to get rid of the initiative either because it embarrasses them or makes them lose their gains. In Israel, there is a fanatic religious group with which you cannot argue when it adopts a policy based on claims of the Promised Land, rather than the situation on the ground.

The same thing applies to Iran, which uses religion in politics to extend its influence among hundreds of millions of Arabs. It wants to tickle their feelings and push them further toward chaos in the name of liberating the whole of Palestine and eliminating the Jewish occupiers.

Those who are not tired of politics know that the Arab peace initiative, which includes accurate details on dealing with the disputes with Israel, is a very advanced step. They also know that its implementation will be difficult, not only for the Israelis, but also for the Arabs. An amendment of the initiative will waste precious time and opportunities, as well as the peace of which the world dreams for the Middle East.