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Abbas: Ending Israeli Occupation Paves the Way to Enforcing Arab Initiative | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas waves as he walks with officials after arriving at Palam Air Force Station in New Delhi. AFP-JIJI

Ramallah- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that ending Israeli occupation is a key gateway to implementing the Arab peace initiative.

“Ending the occupation of our country will pave the way towards implementing the Arab peace Initiative, and would aid efforts spent on fighting off terrorism and extremism in both the region and the world,” Abbas said on Tuesday.

In a joint press conference with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, Abbas said that a solution to ending the conflict is embodied in establishing a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.

A Palestinian state neighboring Israel with eastern Jerusalem as its capital advances security, peace, and good neighborliness, said Abbas.

Abbas intentionally gave emphasis to ending the occupation in order for Arab states the establish relations with Israel, and not vice versa, informed Palestinian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He “wanted to emphasize that he rejects any amendments to the Arab peace initiative, or any new initiatives to open relations between Israel and Arab countries before the occupation ends,” sources added.

The Arab peace initiative, also known as the “Saudi Initiative”, is a 10 sentence proposal for an end to the Arab–Israeli conflict that was endorsed by the Arab League in 2002 at the Beirut summit and re-endorsed at the 2007 and 2017 Arab League summits.

According sources, Abbas does not mind Arab states establishing relations with Israel. However, he wants them to come as a result of ending the occupation. He himself supports establishing Arab relations with Israel after a Palestinian state is recognized, but not before.

The Arab initiative would allow Israel to establish relations with 57 Arab and Muslim countries. Israel must accept it as it is, including the Israeli withdrawal from 1967 territories and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Abbas’ comments came amid leaks on regional parties seeking to amend conditions of the Arab initiative, allowing enhanced relations with Israel in exchange for an Israeli shift toward peace.

Abbas had said Palestine appreciates the solidarity India extends to its cause. “India is a friend. It has influence at the international level. India can play an important role (in resolving the Palestine Israel crisis,” Abbas said. He also had said India is “ahead of all friendly countries” in helping Palestine.

The President said that he recently had meetings with US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed possibilities of an early resolution to the long-pending dispute on a two-state solution.