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March 28: Arab League Peace Initiative

March 28, 2013

peaceinitiativeThe Arab League Peace Initiative, a comprehensive Mideast peace plan sponsored by Saudi Arabia, was published at the Arab League Summit on this date in 2002. The Initiative proposed a normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab world if Israel would withdraw from the Occupied Territories, including East Jerusalem, and work out a “just settlement” of the Palestinian refugee situation based on UN Resolution 194. Diplomacy, however, was overshadowed by a Hamas-sponsored terrorist attack the day before. That bombing of a Passover seder in a hotel in Netanya, Israel killed 30 civilians, injured 140, and horrified the Israeli public. In 2007, the same Initiative was again proffered at the Riyadh Summit of the Arab League, with all 22 member states as well as the Palestinian Authority backing it. Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the initiative outright, however, declaring that "the withdrawal from Gaza two years ago proved that any Israeli withdrawal – particularly a unilateral one – does not advance peace, but rather establishes a terror base for radical Islam."

"This initiative simply says to Israel, 'Leave the occupied territories and you will live in a sea of peace that begins in Nouakchott and ends in Indonesia.'" —Mahmoud Abbas